Mother Nature wreaks havoc on D-11 tennis
Poor weather for the local high school tennis postseason is becoming an annual tradition. The East Penn Conference Championships were postponed last week, and there still isn’t a make-up date in place. The District 11 Tournament started on Monday, but players were only able to get one round in before that had to be delayed because of rain.
For Parkland, there are other frustrating elements that get added to the weather as they Trojans came into districts. Nick Hawk, their number-two singles player, had to be scratched from the singles tournament because of a bad back. And with rains pushing the quarterfinals back to Thursday, Parkland’s number-one player, Aneesh Kapoor will be scratched from the quarterfinal match, should he advance, because of a planned college visit.
“It’s really frustrating, because Nick has been such a good player for us for so long, and he couldn’t go,” said Parkland head coach Mike Hingston. “Then, Aneesh had scheduled the college visit to Emory for an off-day, and then that gets changed around. I told him, ‘go, you have to do what you have to do.’
“Those are two good kids and I would love to have them be able to compete. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
Number-three singles player Alex Son made it through a tough first round match against Whitehall’s Nick Rohn, winning 6-2, 0-6, 10-5 to advance out of the first round.
“Alex Son had an amazing first round match,” said Hingston. “It was one of those matches where you think these two guys won’t be playing each other in the first round, because they’re both so good. It was a great match and both guys played fantastic.”
The disrupted schedule now has the quarterfinals and semifinals being played Thursday at Parkland High School, with the championship set for Friday at Winning Touch in Allentown. The District 11 team tournament begins Saturday.
“We’re that team that nobody wants to play,” said Hingston. “It’s the first time since I’ve been here that we haven’t been the top seed. We might be the top seed by power rankings, but in essence, we aren’t because we lost to Nazareth and Liberty is undefeated and beat Nazareth, so in reality, we’re a third seed.”
The loss to Nazareth broke a string of 152 straight wins in conference matches for Parkland, a string that goes back to when many of the current players were just three or four years old. As amazing as the streak was, it wasn’t something that the players or Hingston had in the front of their minds.
“We knew that was going to come to an end at some point and I figured there was a strong possibility that it would come this year,” said Hingston. “To me, it was just another tennis match. We didn’t talk about it before the match. We didn’t talk about it after the match, and we haven’t talked about it since.
“We were proud of it and we were proud to be a part of it, but it started before all of us, so we’re not going to take credit for all of it and we’re not going to take blame for it. Nothing lasts forever. We were more disappointed that we lost the tennis match, and not that we lost the streak.”
No matter where the Trojans were ranked heading into the team competition, they’re as comfortable playing the role of an underdog as being the favorite coming into the postseason. Hingston knows that his team is one of the best in the area and has high hopes for what they can achieve in districts.
“We’re still a dangerous team, and if we get it right, we can sting either one of those teams,” he said. “But they’re so good. We’d have to be almost perfect to do it. It’s kind of a nice role to be in as an underdog, even the kids are saying, ‘we kind of like this role.’ For once, the pressure is off our shoulders, because it isn’t as easy as it looks from the outside.”