Boys tennis on course to crush Mustangs at state tournament

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Jonah Sandy

Evan Cater ‘15 warms up for his doubles match with teammate Tiernan Foster-Smith ‘15 at last week’s Section 4A tournament at home.

Carolyn Patterson, Sports Editor

B.O.B.’s classic song “Game Time,” with its peppy beat, captivating tune and clever lyrics such as “Look way up there it’s a bird it’s a plane / No it’s the savior to change the game,” does not even begin to encapsulate the high expectations, anticipation and excitement felt by die hard fans of this year’s boys’ tennis team.

The team has routinely done well in its regular and its post season, making it to state every year and coming up just shy of winning the whole thing on several occasions.

The only thing standing in their way on the courts in the heat of section playoffs is a school with a big star gracing yellow and blue tennis courts: Breck. The rivalry with Breck has strung sour notes for many years on both teams, and their top player, senior Myles Tang, is currently in a fight-to-the-death war with Charlie Adams ‘15. The two have gone head-to-head in many regular season and state games; each year, losing becomes a deeper wound for either player.

Adams has beaten Tang once this year already, and he is confident going into the next match. He knows he will have to “fight through the battle and play my best with a little bit of luck.”

“The match can go either way,” Adams continues. “They are very good, but they are beatable.” He believes “the team needs to maintain strong chemistry” in order to take down the Mustangs.

Captain Max Makovetsky ’13 says that Breck is “our strongest competitor. We already beat them once 5-2 during the season, but that victory isn’t enough and now we need to put in our whole heart.” Jackson Kelner ’14 adds, “our rivalry with Breck is as intense as ever.”

This year, victory seems very possible. Big dogs Kai Skallerud ’13, Kavir Kumar ’15, Taylor Parr ’14 and Adams, along with the entire boys’ tennis team itself, were mentioned in The Star Tribune’s 2013 Players and Teams to Watch list. Riding off the victories of last week’s tournament, all four players will be playing at the Minnesota state tournament in less than two weeks, where Blake will face off against Breck in the singles and doubles bracket and the team bracket, assuming they won this past Tuesday’s tournament.

Makovetsky explains, “we are  very deep as a team. We have been on a rampage this year kicking butt and taking names.” This is the spirit evident on the courts and hopefully intimidating to the Mustangs.

The boys’ tennis team is ranked number one in single A and double A combined, and as stated earlier, recently beat Breck 5-2. Adams says, “It will be a battle but with [Breck] we should win.” Makovetsky noted the team’s “cohesive” nature as one factor contributing to its success thus far. They “support one another. There is a lot of young, raw talent but we also work very hard in practice.” He furthers this by proclaiming that “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Everyone on the team likes each other. It’s just a good group of kids.”

If the team leaps the high bar set for them this year, which they should, it must be time then to think about how to continue the habit of winning into next year. The team will lose captains Skallerud, Makovetsky and Hubbard Velie ‘13 as they move on to college. Adams says that losing three key players will “really change the depth of the team.” However, “there are a lot of good kids stepping up that will be able to play next year.”

Makovetsky also has good things to say about the players filling big shoes: “people will be moving up in the lineup, but Blake has always been good at tennis and the JV team is strong.” Kelner adds, “The players we lose next year will definitely be tough to overcome. But… other guys will step up to the challenge, fill their roles, and we should be just as successful as ever.”

Additional reporting on this article by Contributing Writer Eli Makovetsky.

More on the boys tennis team: https://www.blakespectrum.org/blog/2013/06/02/for-boys-tennis-team-sportsmanship-beats-competition/