Crawfordsville boys tennis is firing on all cylinders and they have saved their best tennis for when it matters the most. Thursday CHS took on county rival Southmont as the two Montgomery County teams battled it out with nothing less than a sectional title at stake. After a 3-2 thrilling win in the regular season, Crawfordsville followed it up with a 4-1 win as they defeated their rivals yet again to claim the school’s first sectional title since 2017.
Wyatt Motz and Rowan Gambrel got CHS on the board quickly as Motz defeated Luke Tesmer 6-3, 6-1 at two singles and Gambrel picked up a 6-1, 6-1 over Harrison Haddock at three singles. Southmont’s undefeated senior Adam Cox got the Mounties on the board with a 6-0, 6-1 win over James Murphy. Both doubles teams went three sets with CHS needing just a one of them to pull through to secure the win. The duo of Thomas Bowling and Nolan Watt did just that for the Athenians as they defeated Gavin Downey and Caden Jones 3-6, 6-3, 7-6. With the sectional title already secured Jude Hutchison and Jude Coursey rounded out the wins for CHS with a 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6 at two doubles over Caden Jones and Chayce Howell.
“This team believes they can go out and beat anyone that they step on the court with and that’s the mentality you have to have at this point in the season,” Crawfordsville coach Craig Brainard said. “I’m really proud of the way they have played all season and the best part is they’re not done yet. Their grit, intensity, and engagement has been phenomenal. Everyone seems to be clicking all at once and it’s amazing to see.”
Something that is worth noting about this Athenian team that already won both the county and conference titles and now the sectional title, the 31st in school history, is that they’re having this success without a single senior on the varsity roster. Murphy and Bowling lead the way as juniors and the teams success can being boiled down to one simple thing according to Brainard.
“While we aren’t necessarily an old team, we still have a ton of guys on this team who have tennis experience,” he said. “A lot of these guys have put in the work off the court and that’s made all the difference. They’ve gotten lessons to be able to play at this high of a level and the results have paid off.”
The loss for the Mounties sees their hopes of a third sectional title in four years fall just short. Six of the seven varsity players in Cox, Tesmer, Haddock, Jones, Howell, and Hall are all seniors for everyone but Cox, who advances to the individual sectional tournament, it’s been quite the ride over these last four years as they see their careers come to an end.
“I’m going to really miss these kids,” Southmont coach Nathan Poynter said. “Not only are they good on the tennis court, but they’re very good people off of it. That’s something that’s bigger than the sport and something we emphasize. There’s been a ton of good achievements that they’ve been able to accomplish. It’s been a fun group to be around and coach these last four years and we’re going to miss them.”
Cox now awaits to see what his post-season draw will be like as he looks to make another deep run. A season ago Cox made it to the Regional final before he saw his season come to an end due battling cramping a year ago.
“He wants to make it further than he did a year ago,” Poynter said of Cox who now sits with a record of 19-0 on the year. “We’ll see it how it goes and there’s a lot of factors that go into who he’ll potentially play.”
The Athenians will host the Regional on Tuesday and play Terre Haute South who won their sectional with a 3-2 win over Terre Haute North. Brainard knows that his team will be ready and is excited for the challenge that lies ahead.
“When we’re on like we have been as of late, I don’t think there’s a team out there that can beat us. We’ve built a great culture with this team this season and there’s really not a weak spot in our lineup. I know the guys will geared up come Tuesday.”