The past three years, no team in
the county has been able to compete
with the Hawks in boys tennis. Hanover
has a county record of 14-1
with its lone loss coming from the
hands of Atlee last year.
Entering the 2016 season, many
expected HHS to reign atop teams of
Atlee, Lee Davis and Patrick Henry
once again, including some from even
one of their cross-county rivals.
“Not many of us on the team had
great expectations going into our first
match against Hanover. They have a
ton of experience to go along with our
young team,” number one player and
Atlee junior Jack Snider said.
Little did they know of all the scenarios
that would take place which
lifted Atlee to a thrilling 5-4 victory
in a match that lasted over four hours.
“Besides the fact that fatigue started
to set in, we came in with too much
confidence. We got up early as a team
in the match and many of the guys
probably thought it was over then.
We weren’t able to finish matches
when we had the opportunity to,”
Head Coach Bill Wheaton said.
The Hawks rolled out of the gates
early, taking wins at 1 singles, 2 singles
and 5 singles. Even at 3, 4 and 6
singles the Hawks were in control,
taking all 3 of the first sets. It looked
as if HHS would continue its dominance
sweeping all 6 of the singles
“I felt very good about our chances
throughout most of the singles
matches until the end. I thought the
team would win all six of the singles
matches, but knew we had to get at
least three to feel good about winning,”
sophomore Turner Cole said.
But then the twists and turns started
to come into play.
At number 3 singles for the Hawks,
it was freshman Dalton Draper taking
on sophomore from Atlee, Josh
Durbin. Durbin, a first year starter
didn’t even make the team last year.
From his play on the court, one could
not tell. After saving two match points
against Draper in the second set, he
prevailed 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 in a match that
lasted 2-and-a-half hours.
Chase Lewis, a Hawk senior, was
another vicitim of the third set after
winning set 1, 6-3. Lewis fell apart
not only mentally, but physically as
“I had blisters on my feet which
made it hard to even walk. I wasn’t
able to make it to doubles,” Lewis
In the 6 singles slot, experience
was able to overcome youth. Prakrit
Shukla, a senior at Atlee fought off
a 1-6 first set against Hanover’s Ross
Violi to come from behind and win
1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
With the match being tied at 3-3
going into doubles, the first team to
win 2 of 3 would walk out victorious.
The Hawks quickly took a 4-3 lead in
the match at 1 doubles winning 8-0.
With the chance to clinch the match
with wins at either 2 or 3 doubles,
Atlee fought. The Raiders took both
doubles matches by scores of 8-6 at 2
doubles and 9-7 at 3 doubles.
After this loss, the Hawks can do
one of two things: dwell on this heartbreaking
loss or take this loss to practice
harder and look at it as a turning
point in their season. Hopefully,
they’ll choose the second option.