From the beginning, the men’s tennis team was projected to do well, which is surprising considering the fact that the team is so young. There is only one upperclassmen on the team, and yet they proved that hard work trumps experience and age. The men’s tennis team was predicted to finish fifth in the Midwest Conference, however, they yet again surprised us by pushing beyond what people thought their capabilities and limits were and ended up placing third overall. This past weekend at the conference, the Vikings started off a little rocky, but then on Sunday they got their grip and obtained even more medals as a team. Their biggest highlight of the weekend was the fact that their doubles team ended up beating Grinnell in the semifinals and sophomore Aidan Delgado won his singles match against his opponent Matt Kaycn, whom he has not won against before that match. A sophomore on the team, Cade Francour, finished second in his singles flight. Coach Francour noted the difference, saying “Playing at conference is certainly different than the regular season in that we are playing at a larger venue and with more spectators, but everyone came out ready to play and did not show any more anxiety than usual.”
After last year’s conference, young freshman Cade Francour was disheartened after losing his match so he trained hard until his moment came again. This time he shined, showed no fear and came out with a win. Now, sophomore Francour touches on this matter, he said, “I also feel that I personally improved from last year, finishing with the best singles record on the team after I amassed a losing record last year.” It would not surprise me to see this young athlete continue to shock people with his abilities in the seasons to come. The men’s tennis team will surely grow stronger in these next coming years with attitudes like Aidan Delgado’s and Cade Francour’s around to inspire and push the rest of their teammates towards success.. Coach Francour reflected on the season as a whole, saying “Our number one goal was to take it to the team tournament and give ourselves the chance to get the Midwest Conference automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament. We made the tournament, but we could not get past Lake Forest and into the finals. Against Lake Forest in the team tournament, we had a plan going into the match. I thought we executed that plan. Our area of improvement is to increase our skill level and physical condition to be able to maximize and get to our peak performance.” Coach Francour said that the team did very well, again noting the fact that their team was so young yet had and will have so much potential. “Bill Schuman-Kline, our only senior, had a great year. To play as well as we did with a lot of new players was great.” The team overcame a lot this season. Francour recalled that, “The team had to have our young players step up and they did. When a player was called upon to perform, they were able to seamlessly work into the lineup and help. It was a great group to work with and I’m looking forward to more success in the future.” And with that, the men’s tennis team ends their season on a high note, in which there seems to be more success looming in the near future.