Rebuilt Tiger Cubs defend WIC boys' tennis title
One starter returning? No problem
TRAFALGAR — Greencastle boys’ tennis coach Kevin Rowe knew he would have a tough time rebuilding his team, with only one returning player from last year’s conference and sectional champs.
Sean Ramey at No. 1 singles, who excelled at No. 2 singles last year behind Jed Fajt, was the only returner.
One other player was also scheduled to return, but did not play this fall to concentrate his efforts on another sport.
So that left Rowe with a lot of holes to fill. He got some help when No. 2 singles player Trent Ross transferred from Mooresville, and No. 3 singles player Luca Magni came to the school as an exchange student.
Still, there were both doubles tandems to replace with players making the big leap from the junior varsity.
“Making that jump from JV to varsity is a huge leap,” Rowe agreed. “A lot of these guys on our varsity team were on the JV last year, but they have worked hard all summer long and made themselves into varsity players. I can see a lot of improvements in them since the beginning of the season.”
Things have worked out OK for the Tiger Cubs, however. They have been nearly flawless this year, and were perfect on Saturday in sweeping all five matches at Indian Creek in the championship match of the Western Indiana Conference crossover round to defend their title.
“It was definitely unexpected,” Rowe said of his team’s success in winning a second straight league title. “We had a couple of transfers come in, which obviously gave us a boost at singles, and they are two of the big reasons for our success.”
Rowe noted that not only did he lose talented tennis players, but also some great leaders.
“Sean has done a great job of filling in in that area, encouraging the other guys whenever they need it,” Rowe said. “He wants them to give their full, maximum effort. Sean’s leadership, not just the words, but the way he plays [so professionally, and such a great sport]. He works hard on and off the court, and I thank Sean for where we are at right now.”
The Tiger Cubs have been in the WIC for three years, and Rowe is glad to have had such a stronghold on the boys’ tennis titles during that time.
“We’re pretty excited about that,” he said. “We had a lot of seniors and experience lost from last year, and we knew it was going to be tough. Indian Creek had beaten Edgewood, and we lost to Edgewood, so we knew this would be a tough match.
“I’m so proud of them for how hard they’ve worked and for what they have accomplished so far.”
One example of the success is the No. 2 doubles team of Micah Hammond and Henry Carter.
“They had never played together doubles wise,” he said. “They keep getting better, and I hope this win will give them the confidence they need to continue to do well.”
Ramey, who had just been crowned as the school’s homecoming king literally a few hours prior to the Saturday morning match, did not have doubts about the team in his senior year despite all of the departed players.
“Our expectations were still the same,” he said, “to come out here and compete for conference and sectional titles. We just knew we needed to work harder. Everybody stepped up really well. We got some new people in and everybody stepped up; we played our best tennis of the season today.”
Ramey admires the hard work that his teammates have put in, and is proud of them.
“It’s a big jump from JV to varsity for a lot of these guys, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” he said. “It’s been a team effort the whole year. We’ve been working for a long time, and we have great camaraderie and that has helped us a lot.
Ramey has recorded a 10-1 record, only losing to a player from North Montgomery.
He feels he has played well, but knows he will need to step it up even more for the upcoming sectional.
“I think this has been my best year,” he said. “I’m pretty happy with my play but there’s always room for improvement. I’m still hungry for us to win the sectional title.
“It’s really up for grabs this year,” Ramey continued. “Anybody has a good shot at it, and we all have to bring our A game. If we keep playing like this, at all five spots, we have a great shot the rest of the season.”
The Tiger Cubs have a pair of matches this week, with the sectional set to begin next Wednesday at Northview.
Greencastle 5, Indian Creek 0
No. 1 Singles, Sean Ramey def. Scott Russell: 6-0, 6-1
No. 2 Singles, Trent Ross def. Indian Creek: 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 Singles, Luca Magni def. Indian Creek: 6-3, 6-2
No. 1 Doubles, Nate Hensley-Anthony Conley def. Indian Creek 6-3, 1-6, 7-5
No. 2 Doubles, Micah Hammond-Henry Carter def. Indian Creek 6-0, 6-3