Boy’s Tennis Team Dominates at State Meet

Boy's Tennis Team Dominates at State Meet

Dennis Seay, Contributing Reporter

Last May, the Linn-Mar Lion boys’ tennis team won the state championship by beating Iowa City West’s undefeated team. The Lions were down four wins to two after single’s play, meaning they had to win three doubles matches in a row against the best team in the state to win the championship.

“The odds were looking slim but we managed to rally and win all three of the matches in a row. Many of the Iowa City West kids had never lost a meet in their lives; we even saw one crying after we won the championship,” said Linn-Mar player Ben Hinz.

Understandably, after the meet, the Lions were both exhilarated and exhausted. The meet lasted over seven hours and the whole time the entire team was actively involved in quest for a title. Even when a member was not physically playing a match, they would be cheering on their own teammates as loud as they could to both encourage their teammates and to frustrate the opposing teams’ players.

One Linn-Mar player, Thomas Digmann, said,” before the state meet our coach came up to us and said that the opposing teams’ coaches were already complaining about us (being loud) and that we should keep it up.”

The Lions worked tirelessly all season to become the best tennis players they could be, starting their preseason training all the way back in February, even though the season didn’t officially start until April.

“We would do things like swim and use resistance bands to strengthen ourselves both physically and mentally in preparation to crush the competition during the season,” said Senior Michael McGrew.

The Lions only lost one meet during the entire regular tennis season, to Iowa City West, which made victory over them in the state tournament even sweeter.

The Lions had a strong bond both on and off the court.

“We would say things like “vamos leones,” which is Spanish for ‘Let’s go Lions’ to our players on the court and the whole Spanish culture thing just became integrated into our team. One day Brett Burnhart, who was one of our teammates, brought in his sombrero from home and we started to bring it to every meet. After we won the championship, everyone on the team signed it as a commemoration of the season,” said McGrew.

What is the possibility of the team winning another championship? Players unanimously agreed that they would most likely not be able to win again this coming year due to four of their top players graduating during the previous school year, leaving only their number one player and their number six player out of their top six returning for the upcoming season.

“I don’t think we will even make it to the state tournament,” said Digmann.

Despite their unfavorable outlook on the upcoming season, the Lions are still going to put forth their best effort to try and win as many meets as possible this year. Some of the Lions, including McGrew and Digmann, have even started practicing together before the tennis team as a whole starts practicing. They do things such as lift on their free time and play practice matches together to make sure that they are physically and mentally fit for this upcoming tennis season.

Citing their favorite part of the season, players pointed to the camaraderie shared by the players as just one reason the team was so competitive and had the ability to win State.

Kartik Tharwani, however, had his own reason for loving the season.

“The best part of the season was definitely the snack bin, those Oreos and fruit snacks always came in clutch.”

Although there were some widely different reasons for enjoying the season, it appeared as if all the players thoroughly did.

“This season was the most fun and exciting tennis season I’ve ever been a part of,” said McGrew. “Everything from the winning to the cheering to wearing the stupid sombreros definitely made this season a memorable one.”