South Whidbey boys tennis junior Ryan Wenzek shed a former version of himself on Thursday afternoon.
Trailing 4-1 in the second set of his singles match against Archbishop Murphy’s Robert De Mello e souza, Wenzek was at a crossroads. He could either revert back to his ways of last season and let his emotions govern the rest of the match, or he could trust in his ability and grind away a victory.
He chose the latter.
Wenzek defeated his Wildcat opponent 6-4, 6-4 to earn his first victory of the season. Wenzek’s win was among three others as the Falcons beat the Wildcats 4-1. It was a complete flip from the Falcons’ first match of the season against Seattle Academy, a 4-1 loss.
Wenzek and Falcon head coach Karyle Kramer thought his win encapsulated the growth Wenzek has shown over the past year and the type of the player he’s become.
“That was definitely true, because last year I would have totally taken myself out of the match,” Wenzek said. “I would have acted up and not focused on winning. I would say this year, I’m much more mature in my game. I forgot the past and moved on.”
Kramer agreed. She said the top priority for Wenzek has been taking his emotions out of the match, whether it be frustration or giving up.
“Getting out of that hole, down 1-4, was such a testament to what he’s been working toward,” Wenzek said. “I know it means more to him than if he would have won 6-1.”
Wenzek said his match wasn’t perfect by any means, though he’s happy with his play.
“It’s really rewarding to see the effort you put in come out in the matches,” Wenzek said.
Also earning victories were doubles teams Ari Rohan and Larsen Christiansen, Levi Buck and Austin Sterba and Cameron Asay and Nick Simmons. Aengus Dubendorf, the Falcons’ No. 2 singles player, lost to Trent Mosier 6-0, 7-6.
In what was undoubtedly a dominating match, Rohan and Christiansen defeated Wildcats Riley Quinton and Jack McClincy, 6-1, 6-1.
“I think we just really kept our heads up,” Rohan said. “We played well together.”
The duo were so effective that it caused friction amongst their opponents.
“As soon we got ahead, the other guys were just super mad,” Christiansen said. “One of their backhands was really bad so we just hit it there.”
Rohan and Christiansen said the biggest difficulty of the match was maintaining their focus.
“We’d just get so far ahead where I’d start to lose focus and mess around a little bit,” Christiansen said.