Photo Courtesy of Mark Dager
The boys tennis team won Counties May 9-16, beating out Wootton, Whitman, and other schools in division one of MCPS boys tennis.
Sophomore Drew Ingall won his individual bracket for singles, and senior captains Mark Dager and Ethan Kauffman, senior Austin Yang and freshman Petar Djekic won their doubles brackets.
“Overall I think the season went really well,” Kauffman said of the team’s 10-1 regular season record. “We had a very strong lineup, and even though we lost to Whitman, it was a very close match.”
The players and the coach of the team have had confidence in the team since the beginning of the season. At the end of the season, the team was ranked second in the county behind Whitman.
“At tryouts I believed we were the best team in the county,” coach Neale Castillo said.
With a roster of 28 players, the team was quite large, compared to last year when there were only 16 players at the beginning of the season.
“The team this year was big, so that affected the ability for all of us to bond well,” Dager said.
While singles players on the tennis team play alone, the team still practices together.
According to Castillo, in order to prepare singles players for matches, he works with them on fitness and on-court skills. To prepare doubles partners, he tries to build a connection between players as the season progresses.
Following a successful regular season, the team did not modify much of its training to prepare for Counties.
“Nothing really changes in terms of preparation,” Castillo said. “I try my best to help keep everyone focused on each match rather than looking ahead and underestimating any early round opponents.”
Five players on the team were ranked the number one seed in their separate brackets for counties. Ingall was ranked number one for bracket four of singles, Dager and Yang were number one in bracket one of doubles, and Kaufmann and Djekic were ranked first in bracket two of doubles.
“All of these players were undefeated in the regular season,” Dager said. “Our team is really deep this year, so people were able to play lower positions when they usually would play higher, so it was easy to beat teams, especially in our doubles.”
Although the team had great success throughout the entire year, players can point out a few specific wins that meant the most to them.
“We beat BCC, 7-0, and they beat us last year 5-2, so it was a great redemption win,” Dager said.
The team is already looking ahead to next year’s season and hoping to be as successful as this year.
“The team will improve because of the freshmen coming to Churchill next year,” sophomore captain William Karpinski said. “A lot of kids got to practice with the team and play in some matches so we will be one of the deepest teams in Montgomery County.”