Boys tennis advances to regionals

The boys tennis team went undefeated in their regular season and placed second in districts. The team will play in regionals Apr. 21 against Winter Park.

photo by Lilia Wilken-Yoder

The boys tennis team went undefeated in their regular season and placed second in districts. The team will play in regionals Apr. 21 against Winter Park.

Despite the unforeseen challenges of games cut short and tough comebacks, the boys tennis team pulled out wins against hard competition on helping to earn them a spot at FHSAA District 3 regionals. 

 The team finished their regular season 11-0, which led them into the district tournament where they finished second behind Seminole. 

“I’m glad our team’s hard work paid off and resulted in an undefeated season. And to finish second in districts and get to advance to regionals is a real accomplishment,” head coach Ellen Runda said.

Senior CJ Ellis finds this year’s lineup solid due to the roster of experienced players.

“We have a really deep team; all five starting players are really strong and it was a close battle to see who would play which line,” coach Runda said. 

Senior Nicolas Cai stated that new players stepped up to fill the spots of graduated seniors and strengthened the composition of the team.

Due to coronavirus, the team’s previous season ended early. Returning players as well as coach Runda admitted that the team was not as strong last year, as they lost to many teams that they beat this season.

“If we were to play districts back then, I’m fairly certain we would not have moved on at all, since the seniors last year at some of the schools were at a much higher skill level,” Cai said.

Tough practices and having a stacked lineup has helped the team this year. Coach Runda always encourages her players and pushes them to get better, whether that is by encouraging confidence or difficult physical drills at practice.

Playing in a big tournament like regionals can be nerve-racking for teams, so Ellis developed a routine to get himself mentally prepared for districts, and soon, he will do the same for regionals. 

“Going into regionals, we understand that we’re the underdogs since we’re playing the other district champions, so having the clear notion that we just need to buckle down and play our best tennis regardless of what happens will definitely help,” Cai said.

Junior Nikhil Shanhbag believes applying what they have learned with no fear of their opponent and reminding themselves of their accomplishments also played a huge role in preparation.

The team will face Winter Park in the regional playoffs on Apr. 21 at Winter Park High School.

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