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John Habib's City Sports: Double duty for Trinity’s Polak
Trinity High School athletics director Chip Polak works with Alec Robitaille of Manchester during tennis practice on Tuesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
When Polak was the assistant athletics director at Southern New Hampshire University (still known as New Hampshire College at the time), he coached tennis for three seasons at the neighboring Derryfield School, from 1981-83.
This spring, when Polak couldn’t find a coach for the Trinity boys’ tennis team, he named himself coach. Trinity is off to 3-5 start in Division II, with a strong player at No. 1 singles in Brian Madden.
Since his last stint as tennis coach, competition at the local high school level has changed quite a bit, Polak said.
“Next week we’re sitting down with the finalists for interviews,” said Polak. “In all, we had 15 applicants, and I was impressed with each of them. I’m taking this very seriously because Trinity basketball is rich in history.”
“I tell people the one word I always describe watching a game at Trinity is ‘Hoosiers’. I just get chills whenever I walk across that gym floor. When you fill that gym to capacity, it’s really a special atmosphere.”
FOR THE FIRST time since the late 1970s, Manchester Babe Ruth Baseball will not field a 13-year-old league.
“We have a total of 87 kids, which gives us six teams this season,” said Manchester director Gary Ulbin. “All six teams will carry players ages 13, 14 and 15.”
“We only had 22 13-year-old kids sign up, and that wasn’t enough to sustain the Lebel League by itself,” Ulbin said. “Again, kids today are playing other sports, like soccer and lacrosse. There’s AAU baseball, and together it’s taken its toll on us and other Babe Ruth leagues across the state.”
“Those leagues are down in numbers, too,” he said. “We’re all in the same boat, so we decided to help each other by scheduling games against each other. We’re going to have a 20-game schedule for each team. We’ve also established a league rule where every kid must play a minimum of three innings per game. Each kid can’t go two straight games without starting a game.
He believes — or at least hopes — his registration numbers have leveled off.
“I don’t see our registration numbers dropping dramatically for some time,” he said. “I think we’ll maintain between 85 and 90 players a year going forward. I will admit we need to market our league better. We need to go after players more aggressively in the future.”
Three games featuring the league’s six teams will take place on Opening Day today in a tripleheader at Gill Stadium beginning at 10 a.m.
From Aug. 2-7, Manchester will host the 15-year-old New England Babe Ruth Regional at Gill Stadium.