Panther tennis opens with a win
Opening the season against the Hotchkiss High School Bulldogs in Cortez on Aug. 31, the Montezuma-Cortez High School boys’ tennis team won by a score of 4-3.
Leading the charge for the Panthers was new #1 singles player Logan Dean, who defeated Azure Ellen by a score of 6-1, 6-1. Throughout the match, Dean, a senior, dictated play using a wide variety of shots including forehands, backhands and volleys.
“It definitely wasn’t my best match,” said Dean. “I was mainly just playing it safe and focusing on accuracy over power. Overall though, it was a good match.”
Playing at #2 singles for the Panthers, senior Graham Cathey bested Michal Wilmore of Hotchkiss in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Wilmore, a crafty and consistent player, gave Cathey all he could handle, but in the end, Cathey’s power and experience proved to be the difference maker.
“I was really disappointed with Graham’s play in the first set,” said head coach Dan Wood. “You have days like that. (Graham) stuck with it, though. Better skills and more experience won out in that one.”
At #3 singles, Panthers senior Si Eckart, playing in his first ever high school singles match, lost to Caleb Bayles, 2-6, 2-6.
“(Playing singles) was definitely a new experience,” said Eckart. “I’m more used to the doubles setup. I think I did pretty good for my first time. Next time, I just have to keep my head in the game more.”
In the #1 doubles matchup, Panthers’ seniors Todd Underwood and Ford Wegner defeated Keegan Burke and Nick Cambria of Hotchkiss, 6-2, 6-1.
Perhaps the most exciting match of the day featured the Panthers’ #2 doubles duo of Samir Berrada and Xavier Eddy. Showing grit and determination, the juniors lost a tight three-set match, 4-6, 7-6, 10-12.
At #3 doubles, Tyler Daniel and Dayne Black defeated Josh Parsons and Tyler Suppes by a score of 3-6, 6-1, 10-6.
At #4 doubles, Panthers’ senior Wyatt Yates and sophomore Grant Gasaway lost a close match to Eddy Cambria and Ethan Eller, 4-6, 6-7.
Reflecting on his team’s opening season victory, Wood stated, “I was happy with the whole event. Hotchkiss is a good tennis team. It feels really good to start with a win.”