Tennis captures conference title

Charlie Byrd and Austin Julian (sports editor)

Led by sophomore Brad Beck and senior Mason VanViegen, the boys’ tennis team shared first place in the NAC-VI with the Wakefield Wolverines.

Beck went 11-2 and VanViegen went 9-4.

“I expect them to stand out and be leaders on and off the court. I just expect them to do well,” coach Brian Lesh said.

As the season began Lesh knew his #1 (Beck) and #2 (VanViegen) seeds would impact the chances for a title.

Regarding the competition faced day in and day out, VanViegen, notes the change of difficulty from previous years.

“It’s been difficult because the competition is much steeper when you get to one two and three because you have the best the team offers, and you have to lead your team,” VanViegen said.

Transitioning from the powerhouse Cap-8 conference to the new NAC-VI has been a transition for the better according to first-year coach Lesh.

“Realigning the conference has been huge, as it puts us on a more level playing field, whereas when we were in the Cap-8 for tennis, we’d get our butts kicked all over the place,” Lesh said.

Interviewed as the season began, the players accomplished Lesh’s stated goal.

“This season I would say trying to at least tie or win the NAC-VI championship,” Lesh said.

Beck is pleased with this year’s results.

“I think we did pretty good. We won the conference,” Beck said.

Comparing the past seasons to the success of the current one, VanViegen has noticed differences in methods of play.

“I noticed that everyone worked better as a team. We helped each other out, were supportive of each other, and outside of the tennis team we got along. I noticed that. Everyone put their best effort forward this year,” VanViegen said.

Beck also noticed differences in the team’s level of play.

“I think everyone on the team improved, and we started winning more,” Beck said.

Over the season the team faced many adversities, one of which was Wakefield. Being the Cougars’ only conference loss, the second time they faced off the Cougars had a chip on their shoulder.

“I think we wanted it more, like we knew we could do it. We just wanted it more,” Beck said.

The desire to beat conference foe Wakefield was definitely a motivating factor.

“We came into it very motivated, and we were out for blood. So, we were very prepared,” VanViegen said.

It’s safe to say the boys’ tennis team made a historic run this year.

VanViegen said of the result, “Very good. We are very excited and very proud. It’s the first time we have done that in school history.”