By RISHABH KAPOOR, sophomore
After winning the GMCs for the past two years, this season’s boys tennis team faced exceptionally high expectations. Not only did they meet, if not surpass, these expectations by becoming GMC champions for the third time in a row, but their astounding record this season also further demonstrated their readiness to take on any challenge or obstacle in their way. To celebrate their myriad victories and overall success, Hawkeye decided to interview the players and Coach Pisano about their team, traditions, and preparations for the future:
Q: How does it feel now, winning a third county title in a row?
A: We’re all certainly happy for the team. To have an accomplishment like this under your belt is a great feeling. Our team has risen up to the occasion this year and we have matured as a team, which has helped us a lot in coping with pressure and crucial moments. Gokul Murugesan, junior
Q: Tennis is technically a team sport, but for singles you’re out there alone on the court. What makes it a team sport for you?
A: The way high school tennis is structured makes it a very team-oriented sport, as in we have to win three out of five positions to win the match. And also the fact that often we’re always encouraging each other, cheering on Gokul or Vishal or 2nd doubles, just makes it a team atmosphere…even though we’re fighting our individual battles, we’re never really alone out there, with our whole team, including JV, backing us up. Sarthak Mohanty, senior
Q: Do you have any team traditions that you guys do to keep yourself focused, or maybe just for fun?
A: You know the chant “1, 2, 3, Hawks?” We echo it ourselves sometimes after the loud “hawks.” And before matches, someone will start a supportive “let’s go JP” and then everyone will say it as it gets passed down the courts. Brian Ho, senior
Q: As coach, how do you normally keep the team calm under pressure and keep the morale up during practice or games when everyone is tired out?
A: It’s very difficult with schoolwork, standardized testing, and now tournament time to keep the kids focused and calm, but I encourage them to get sleep and try to put in a normal day before a match. Monday is our State Sectional final, and we’re just going to go through a regular school day, with no APs thank goodness, and have a regular match at the end of the day. There’s nothing special; we’re not getting out early. We will try to keep the routine of a regular school day with a match. Coach Pisano
Q: After a season full of hard work and constant practice, how do you plan on celebrating with the team?
A: We went out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings after the counties. Parents offer Eats at their houses, so we’ve had two or three gatherings already. And we just do little fun things on an off day when we know we’ll have two or three practices in a row; we’ll lighten it up a little bit to have a little team camaraderie with the junior varsity. It’s important that the junior varsity and varsity practice together and mix together, so the JV knows what it’s all about for next year. Coach Pisano
Q: How do the boys contribute to the team dynamic? In other words, is there someone who acts as the “rock” of the team, as comic relief to lighten a tense situation, or as a calming presence, etc?
A: [Among] the three captains that I have, one is a good speaker. Sarthak’s the speaker and a good motivator for conditioning. Brian Ho is kind of light-hearted and he gets silly, which lightens the team up. Gokul is the other captain [who] kind of leads by example with good sportsmanship. When he plays in matches, he’s very good that way and the kids look up to him. Coach Pisano
Featured image from ferrisracquetandfitness.com