Hutchinson pair wins doubles title
GODDARD Pressure doesn’t reach much higher than it does in the finals of the John Markham Spring Classic, which is the marquee boys tennis tournament of the regular season.
But Hutchinson’s Sam File is an extrovert. What most people see as pressure, File views no differently than hitting the ball around for fun.
It didn’t matter they were playing the defending 3-1A champions of Independent, Jacob Maddox and Sam McCoy, in the final. It didn’t matter File and his partner, Steven Banz, were not among the eight teams seeded in the tournament.
File was himself. He was constantly bobbing up and down in mismatched socks — one white and one black. He regularly cracked jokes at his own expense. But most importantly, he was locked in and the Hutchinson duo broke through for a 8-4 victory in the championship match.
“I didn’t even feel any pressure after the quarterfinals,” File said. “We were kind of shooting for fifth or sixth today. But after we won that, we came out like game busters.”
Last season coach Wendy Queal tabbed File and Banz as her singles players, but decided to combine them for this season. She’s discovered it to be a perfect match.
“You can see when Steven’s anxiety picks up and you can see him start to get nervous, then Sam will say something funny and bring him back down,” Queal said. “They counteract each other really well.”
It was most noticeable in the final, as the two teams had contrasting styles.
“They’re both such great guys, at times they need to show a little bit more positive energy though,” Independent coach Simon Norman said. “They’re both pretty laid back. They did the same thing at state last year and won state by getting a bit more positive momentum. That’s something we’re working on.”
There was more to celebrate in the semifinals, although the Independent duo gave up four games to Goddard seniors Ryan Wolfe and Britt Hanson.
Wolfe was playing with Hanson for the first time since their freshman year because Tanner Lambky, Wolfe’s usual partner, broke his foot this week. But it didn’t take long for Wolfe and Hanson to find their chemistry, as they defeated Wellington’s Brian Peck and Levi Gurley 8-6 in the third-place match.
“Me and him are really good friends off-court and we’ve been really good friends since first grade, so that wasn’t really a problem,” Wolfe said. “But Britt was amazing, for having to step up like that and play like he did today.”