Southmont boy’s tennis coach Nathan Poynter was able to take a deep breath in and exhale just 45 minutes into the Mountie’s sectional final match against Crawfordsville. With three quick wins at No. 3 singles and No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, the Mountie’s secured the first boy’s tennis title since 1991, and the first in Poynter’s 11-year coaching career.
The win comes just two years after Southmont let a sectional championship get away.
“I think two years ago we had a very good team,” Poynter said. “But this time I think everybody kept their mind more on the immediate match. Nobody was looking ahead, and just played in the moment.”
All five spots had their focus on Thursday afternoon’s match, sweeping the Athenians 5-0.
At No. 1 singles freshman Adam Cox defeated Austin Motz 6-0, 6-0, while Trevor McKinney defeated Thatcher Gambrel 6-1, 6-0 at the No. 2 spot, and Conner McVay beat Jacob Burke 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles.
The duo of Reese Long and Micah Korhorn defeated Owen Bennett and Zach Fichter 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 doubles, and EJ Brewer and Luke Tesmer beat Ziair Morgan and Peyton Groumoutis 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.
Led by seniors Reese Long, Trevor McKinney, and Conner McVay the Mountie’s improved their record to 15-4 on the season, after struggling in 2018.
“I’m really happy for the seniors especially since it’s their last chance,” Poynter said.
Reese Long is the only varsity player left from the 2018 team that lost to Crawfordsville 3-2, and saw this season’s team play more relaxed.
“This year before every match we’ve just been saying have fun,” he said. “Even if you win if you’re not having fun than what’s the point.”
In 2018, Long and his No. 1 doubles partner Jack Reimondo went all the way to the individual regional final, before falling to Alexandria Monroe’s Dane Hueston and Matt Etherington 6-2, 6-0, but says winning as a team is much more meaningful than as an individual.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “Right now it’s surreal. Jack and I won it individually sophomore year, but it would have been so much better to win it as a team with the seniors that year, but I love this team, I like all the guys, my senior friends and the freshmen that came up and played really well this season.”
Poynter watched Long step up as a senior leader this fall at No. 1 doubles after sliding into a singles role during his junior season.
“He’s a much better doubles player than he his a singles player,” Poynter said about Long. “I’ve had him playing doubles since his freshman year and he’s gotten pretty good at it. He attacks well, and he plays the net well. It’s good, because at doubles he is very much a leader.”
The win on Thursday marked the fourth boy’s tennis sectional title in school history, joining the 1980, 1984, and 1991 teams.
On each of the title teams a Poynter has been involved. Current coach Nathan Poynter was a member of the 1984 team, while his brother, Brian, was on the 1980 team, and their dad, Blaine, was the coach of the 1991 team.
“I don’t know which one feels better,” Poynter joked after the match. “You’re happier to see the kids win, and I know that it’s an exciting time no matter what.”
And with Adam Cox on this year’s team, he joins his uncle Jimmy, a member of the 1980 team, and his dad, Chris, a member of the 1984 team as members of the Cox family to achieve a sectional title at Southmont.
In just his freshman season, Cox gave the Mountie’s stability they were looking for at No. 1 singles.
“He’s come a long way since the beginning of the season,” Poynter said about Cox. “And he’s playing a lot better. It’s good for the whole team to see somebody step up.”
Southmont awaits the winner of Northview and South Putnam winner in next week’s four-team regional starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Crawfordsville.