Future looks bright for Hampton boys tennis
Friday, May 17, 2019 | 7:17 AM
The Hampton boys tennis team ended its season on a high note and figures to have a bright future.
In tough seasons such as this one, that’s important.
“I think we did good with the team,” senior captain Alex Butch said. “We had some new guys (in their) first year playing and some guys coming up from JV and one of the hardest sections in the WPIAL. I wouldn’t have wanted to play with anyone else.”
Butch and first doubles partner Peter Andrews did their best work at the end of the season in the WPIAL section doubles tournament, beating Cam Szyazinski and Connor Allen — Shaler’s top singles players — in a pro set and making it to the section quarterfinals.
“I think we’ve always kind of known how the other plays and how to bring the other one up if one of us isn’t playing as well as we think,” Butch said. “Also, we’re very open with each other, able to criticize and not take it personally.”
Hamptyon finished 7-8 in a difficult section that included WPIAL champion Fox Chapel and runner-up Shady Side Academy.
“I felt like at the beginning, we got off to a good start,” coach Grant McKinney said.
“I think it’s partially, we got eliminated from the playoffs, we knew just midway through. So you’re going to have an emotional letdown. But we were able to recover and finish in a positive way.”
The Talbots finished with a win over Shaler and a 3-2 loss to playoff qualifier Moon.
Singles players such as freshman Ethan Oh and junior Abheet Badrinath improved throughout the season.
“I think he’s found a weapon in his serve,” McKinney said of Badrinath, who will look to lead Hampton to the playoffs next season. “It’s been a steady progression the last few years. This year, he finished in a smart way, putting it in smart spots, thinking about what he’s doing and not just going up there and hitting it. I’m very excited about Abheet coming back to his senior year.”
Oh progressed after being thrown into the fire at third singles when former No. 1 Ben Ringeisen did not return this season.
“When you push someone into a spot, you want to see if they’re going to shy away, or are they going to work on the holes in their game and fix them?” McKinney said. “That’s the approach he had. He continued to improve and work hard.”
Though McKinney is looking to recruit more players in the offseason, the future could be bright with two solid singles players with experience returning.
“Abheet has always been good, and he’s just going to get better,” Butch said. “Same with Ethan. He has three more years. If he just keeps pushing and playing, he’ll be good. I think they’ll be able to hold the team together the next few years.”
More High School Tennis• Trib HSSN Top 20 Stories of 2020: Knoch dominates court proceedings
• ‘Little school in Saxonburg’ joins state tennis elite during Knoch’s memorable season
• Peters Township tandem claims state tennis gold
• WPIAL singles, doubles champions to begin quest for state titles
• Latrobe girls tennis savors historic run to state finals