Polk netters close rebuilding season with victory

Polk County's Lucas Rogers returns a shot during Thursday's match with Mountain Heritage.

It’s the good news/bad news scenario inherent with any rebuilding season – young players, often newcomers, showing improvement, but the growing skill set not always translating to wins.

Polk County boys tennis coach Richard Davis has lived that situation through this season, which made Thursday’s 6-1 win over Mountain Heritage in the Wolverines’ season finale all the sweeter.

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Polk County (5-9, 2-6) swept all six singles matches, with first-year players Seth Hardin and Lucas Rogers joining veterans Henry Monts, Payton Stott, Malik Miller and Rustin Muse in earning points. For Rogers, it was his first singles win of the season.

Mountain Heritage earned a point at No. 1 doubles before the teams agreed to end the match. It will be Polk County’s last time on the court until the Wolverines host the Western Highlands Conference tournament on April 25.

“We’ve seen improvement since the season started,” Davis said. “Seth and Lucas have gone from knowing nothing about tennis, being true beginners, to Seth winning four or five matches and Lucas winning his first match today. You can definitely see since the beginning of the year the improvement.”

Rogers earned a 10-4 win at No. 5 singles while Hardin captured an 11-10 (7-4) victory at No. 6. For seniors Miller, who won 10-1 at No. 3, and Muse, a 10-7 winner at No. 4, the day marked their final team match.

“Malik has played lights out this year. He has improved tremendously,” Davis said. “Malik and Rustin. . . they’re both three-year starters, and I don’t know what we would have done without them. The last two or three years, our team has been very low in numbers, and they’ve played a major role in our success.”

Monts took a 10-2 win at No. 1 singles and Stott added a 10-3 win at No. 2. The Cougars then picked up a 6-4 victory at No. 1 doubles as Robin Stith and Ben Perveral defeated Monts and Stott.