USTA Middle States intern Kevin Wang is a member of the Conestoga High School varsity tennis team that recently defended its PIAA state title in the AAA Boys’ Team Tennis Championship. Today’s blog post is written by Kevin about his high school tennis experience this season.
Entering the high school tennis season this year, I can admit I didn’t really know what to expect. Following arguably the most dominant season in Conestoga High School history is not an easy task. What could possibly top the 22-0 record the team accumulated and the program’s first State Championship title? The only thing I could think of was pulling off the feat again; anything less would be a complete failure.
The team picked up right where it left off the previous year, taking down opponents with ease. But suddenly, when our confidence was at its highest, we lost our first match in more than a year. We called it a fluke, but another loss came, and another, and another. At this point, the season seemed to be in shambles, and we didn’t know what would happen next. Nevertheless, we were still in the running for our main goal: the defense of our state title.
This time around, I focused on doing more for the team than I did before, as last year I failed to finish any of my matches in the State tournament (although credit must go to my teammates for winning the necessary three matches before I had a chance to finish).
We began to string together some more wins, got ourselves in a strong position to defend our title and watched as it came down to the finals, which happened to be the last match of the season and the last match of my high school career. After a pair of quick victories by my teammates, we found ourselves up, 2-1, with only my match and another singles match left. But as I looked around, I saw that I was in the best position to close out the match and clinch the State title with a win. Here was the chance I waited two years for; the chance to make my mark and complete our title defense. With every pair of eyes in the building trained on my match, I finished it off with a serve and raised my arms in triumph.
I would be hard pressed to find a better ending to not only a successful four years of high school tennis, but also to some of the most enjoyable tennis I ever participated in. Not to say that I don’t find individual competition fun, because I relish the opportunities to battle one-on-one for two and three hours at a time. Nevertheless, the camaraderie and team spirit that can only be found in team tennis seems to bring out a different kind of demeanor and attitude in me that I usually don’t have in individual play.
Chances to play team tennis are far and few between, making them all the more significant. Each time I participate in such an event, I leave with memories that I will forever carry with me. Eventually, those memories of winning a big singles tournament or taking down that top-ranked player will fade, but those memories of clinching a State title for my high school will not.
I must admit, it is sad to know that my high school tennis days are over. But I will always have that memory of the history my team and I made, and no matter where we go from here or how far away I may be, nothing can take that memory away.