Boys Tennis Succeeds in Sectionals, Despite Sudden Line Up Changes

Racket off the court doesn’t distract from racquets on the court


Jack Forrest and Amy Garrido

As the visiting Whiteland Warrior crowd roared, the CG boys tennis team, down three players, roared back. The second night of sectionals was highlighted by the energy on and off the court.

“The atmosphere of the team was to keep each match, on the bench and on the court, as loud and upbeat as possible,” senior Glenn Swaney said. “The only thing we could control was our energy.”

One notable aspect of the game that was out of the team’s control was the sudden reshuffling of the varsity lineup.

“Going into sectionals we knew that it was going to be a tighter fight than what we were thinking due to the situation, but we tried to keep everybody positive and level-headed so we could get the job done,” senior Carson Contos said.

The line up shuffle meant the team would have to adjust to new positions. Contos paired up with senior Ryan Wiseman to play doubles, something the two were not used to doing.

“It’s not too much different, we had more or less the same game plan of hitting solid balls to approach and finishing strong at the net,” Contos said. “Chemistry wasn’t an issue since we’ve been playing for so long on the same team, so it was easy to connect on the court.”

As their collaborative skills translated onto the court, the duo’s efforts led to a 6-3 win in set one, and a 6-2 win in set two. 

“At the start of the first set, we were trading games with Whiteland.  As like it was throughout the whole match, we were just missing a few shots that were making the difference. We were trying to stay solid throughout the whole match,” Wiseman said. “We eventually broke Whiteland’s serve and strung a few games together and ended the first set with my serve. In the second set, we also dropped some games due to some missed shots and crashing the net too hard.”

Contos and Wiseman were not the only players to step up in this match. Sophomore Evan Davis played No. 3 singles. 

“I went into that game thinking I need to get this for the team. I had [a player] call me and tell me what I should focus on going into the match and it helped a ton. I knew it was gonna be a tough match so I went in with a ton of energy,” Davis said. “He also told me to stay strong and keep fighting no matter what because the team needs me.”

With the pressures of success high, senior Luke Embrey helps build momentum from off the court. 

“I typically encourage the team by being extremely loud and vocal in support for myself and my teammates,” Embrey said. “My vocal support not only gives the players confidence, but it also keeps them loose. My role as a player on the court would be to compete and grind to get a win, while keeping the team hyped up at the same time. Off the court, I, along with my other teammates, make sure our other players remain confident and excited so that they have the best chance the can at winning

Embrey’s show of leadership before, during and after the match, along with his 6-1, 6-1 win, impacted Davis, one of the youngest Trojans on the court.

“[Embrey] has been supporting me since sixth grade,” Davis said. “He keeps me in my head and tells me never give up. He is my biggest role model because he works harder than anyone I know. He gives me tips every match I go into and always wants me to do good. Every time he gets off his court he always cheers for me so I can do better.”

Contos saw the entire senior squad step up to support the underclassmen. This includes Max Williams, a freshman, who had to fill in at No. 1 singles.

“The whole senior class came together collectively and fed off one another’s energy,” Contos said. “When one man was down all the others would rally around them and get them energized and back in the fight. As a player, of course Ryan, Max and Evan all stepped up tremendously, getting thrown into the battle.”

For Davis, another source of encouragement was the players who weren’t able to compete. He hopes to bring the advice he received to the court during regionals.

“My hopes are for our team coming out strong and winning no matter what it takes,” Davis said. “I’m hoping that I can fully heal and get some wins for my team because they are counting on me. He is giving me motivation because I’m stepping into some big shoes and I’m hoping I can make [him] proud.”

Finishing with a 6-1 win in set one and a 6-4 win in set two, the duo of Swaney and junior Bennett Strain led to the second doubles win of the night. Swaney believes the unprecedented sectionals tournament has brought in a new state of mind for the group.

“The sectional has definitely brought a new tone. We were unsure of what was to come, but each position and player stepped up,” Swaney said. “We have confidence and we have no reason to not see ourselves as competitors.”

Contos, competing in the last tennis matches of his high school career, thinks the team’s fiery drive to win that brought about the 3-2 victory over Whiteland will outshine any sadness the seniors are feeling.