Lake Creek tennis coach Mario Martinez has seen loads of development inside his program since its inception two years in the past. The efforts of his gamers have paid dividends early on because the Lions lately gained their first-ever district championship.
Lake Creek completed its District 20-5A slate with an ideal 7-0 report. Except for a gritty 10-9 determination over crosstown rival Montgomery, the Lions had been dominant all through. No different staff gained greater than three matches in opposition to them. Lake Creek additionally defeated New Caney (17-2), Dayton (18-1), Kingwood Park (16-3), Porter (18-1), Cleveland (19-0) and Caney Creek (19-0).
“I believe what it says concerning the gamers is that yearly, the children are getting higher,” Martinez stated final week. “Yearly, the children are placing extra effort, extra focus, extra focus into the coaching. We obtained a extremely good group of incoming freshmen, who had a number of tennis expertise. We additionally haven’t graduated any seniors in any respect, and in order that good mixture simply created a extremely good situation for us this 12 months. They educated onerous, and so they purchased into the idea of psychological toughness. All of it got here collectively for us on the proper time.”
Martinez has been happy together with his staff’s performances on the court docket, however that success has additionally been cultivated outdoors the strains. Spending hours upon hours collectively has allowed the gamers to construct relationships, which has been significantly useful for the doubles groups.
“In doubles, you don’t essentially put one of the best gamers collectively,” Martinez stated. “It’s actually all about that chemistry and that camaraderie that two gamers have. As a result of we spend a lot time collectively — touring, doing tournaments, coaching — we’ve grow to be a extremely giant, prolonged household. The children have recognized one another for a number of years now, and that chemistry has actually helped within the doubles play.”
The Lions’ district championship will probably be remembered on its impartial advantage of being the primary at school historical past. However the season will even be remembered due to the coronavirus pandemic and all of the gamers have executed to beat some distinctive challenges. The uncertainty concerning the standing of the autumn season was alleviated in July when the UIL introduced that athletics could be allowed to begin.
Ready for a choice was powerful for Lake Creek as a result of Martinez and the gamers didn’t need the staff’s potential to go unrealized.
“We knew that we had been in rivalry,” Martinez stated. “We knew we had a shot going into the season. I believe everybody’s been doing their a part of staying wholesome, complying with carrying the face masks off the courts, simply because we didn’t know if something was going to be assured for us. Primarily based on that, we had been simply ecstatic to have the ability to come collectively and have the chance to have a season.”
Lake Creek has 14 gamers on its roster, however solely two are seniors: Jonathan Brewer and Mackenzie Sills. Brewer is taking part in the No. 1 boys singles matches and is on the No. 1 boys doubles staff. This 12 months was his first alternative to compete within the Lions’ high spot.
“This was the 12 months that it was actually as much as him to step up, to play that No. 1 spot in singles, and he did,” Martinez stated. “He actually stood out this 12 months, and he performed some good, powerful matches at No. 1. There’s not a simple match whenever you’re the No. 1 participant of your staff.”
Sills, in the meantime, got here to this system this 12 months and held down the No. 2 spot in ladies singles.
“She actually rose and took that spot,” Martinez stated. “She’s a pure chief and an amazing hitter of the ball. These two issues actually propelled her to be a strong staff member for us.”
One other standout for the staff was freshman Michelle Pugh, who’s taking part in within the No. 1 ladies singles spot.
“She has some nice arms and a few nice tennis means,” Martinez stated.
Juniors Patrick Hermes and Andrew Mayer, sophomore Jake Freund, and freshmen Alejandro Ramirez Pyne, Elisha Rendall and Carson Road spherical out the roster on the boys aspect. Juniors Peyton Fraser, Asia Kennett, Gabriella Rojas and A’mri Silver, and sophomore Jordyn Englishbee spherical out the roster for the women.
Lake Creek will start its postseason quest Oct. 26-27 within the bi-district spherical. Martinez is worked up concerning the Lions’ probabilities.
“We’re going to proceed to situation and work out and do our drills,” he stated. “We’re making an attempt to do the identical issues we used through the common season that introduced us a number of victories. We’re hoping that may carry us into the postseason, for certain.”