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Back-to-back champions

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Back-to-back champions

Ten wins, no losses, back-to-back league titles, another successful season. This is how the boys varsity tennis team ended their 2018 spring season. While the team was ecstatic ending with an undefeated record, it was expected.

“Losing last year’s seniors kind of made us nervous going into the season,” senior Brandon Alonso-Ramos said. “We still expected to win league, we just weren’t sure if we were going to go undefeated again.”

Having a lot of returning players made the team very confident in their playing abilities come game-time. Over the summer many players dedicated their time to the sport and focused on improving all aspects of the game. From working on their backhands, drop shots, and mental toughness, the boys started to shape themselves into serious contenders within the SJAA league.

Knowing seasons will eventually come to an end, tennis head coach Shannon Markley is constantly recruiting.

“I’m always trying to build for the next year,” she said. “We’re always trying to recruit underclassmen so as we lose seniors, we have kids that are ready to step up.”

Having spots to fill at the beginning of the season, a number of senior football and basketball players joined the team.

“They are already very athletic, they picked up the sport fast,” Markley said. “We had three of them step into double spots right off the bat.”

While there are people on the team who have been playing tennis for most of their lives, there are some who started to play this year for fun. First year doubles player senior Nate Bones expresses his joy for the new sport. “I loved it. It’s so different from any other sport I played, I was able to actually enjoy playing and going to practice.” Being an athlete Bones was able to pick up tennis quickly. Having experience in football, he has trained his body to be agile and have quick footwork, giving him an edge over other newcomers to the sport. “Going from football to tennis, my footwork was there so I was able to get to most balls. I just had to learn the fundamentals.”

Being that it was a new year Markley noticed that a lot of their personalities were different but they all had one thing in common: a desire to win. Aware of the team’s success last year, the boys had confidence in themselves that they can achieve the same feats and built off that confidence.

As a whole the boys plays well together. Every player has a different role on the team and fulfills their responsibilities. From top to bottom, everyone contributes different strengths to the team.

“Every player we have is good in their spot. Other teams will have two or three amazing players like Bear Creek who went undefeated,” Alonso said. “But overall as a team we were winning more.”

Leadership was a key component in the team’s philosophy.

“We have lots of leaders on our team this year,” Markley said. “I think that’s why we had such a strong team as everyone took ownership of what was going on.”

While leadership is a vital part of building a championship team, so is motivation. The team’s biggest motivational player was junior Diego Contreras. Getting the boys pumped before game time, leading cheers, and being a non selfish teammate, Contreras played an important role on this year’s team.

Fulfilling everyone’s expectations, the tennis team is extremely proud of their accomplishments. As for next year, Markley has the utmost confidence in her team.

“I believe we still have a chance for first place again to be honest. I think we’ll be fine.”

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Back-to-back champions