Strong gusts Monday afternoon made setting up the post-match celebration a bit chaotic for Polk County’s boys tennis team.
The windy day, though, couldn’t blow away the smile on Tracy Becker’s face.
The first-year Polk County tennis coach watched as the Wolverines concluded a successful regular season, sweeping Brevard 9-0 in a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference match.
Polk ended its season with an 8-4 record, including a 6-4 conference mark that pushed the Wolverines into third place in the league.
“It has been a great season,” Becker said. “I’m very happy, very pleased with how we finished.”
The Wolverines dominated Monday’s match against a winless Brevard squad that is rebuilding after being one of the conference’s top teams a season ago. Polk easily swept the day’s singles matches, then dropped just two games in three doubles wins.
That made for a joyous postgame fest for No. 2 singles player Jack Smith, the team’s lone senior, who scored a 6-2, 6-0 win and then teamed with Banks Barber for an 8-0 victory at No. 1 doubles.
“Jack has been our only senior this year, and I am sad to see him go,” Becker said. “It is exciting that the rest of the players have a lot of love for the game, and I think they’ll practice a lot this offseason. I’m excited for next year to see what that brings.”
Barber led the way this season for Polk, finishing 8-3 in both singles and doubles play. He often teamed in doubles with No. 3 singles player Riley Ballentine, who had a 9-2 singles record and was 8-3 in doubles.
Polk, though, received key contributions throughout the lineup. Charlie Jackson (10-10 combined), Graham Turner (5-5 in singles), McClain Koistinen (6-3 in singles) and David Amitrano (6-5 combined) provided the support that the top three players needed to drive the Wolverines’ team achievements.
“Banks had an excellent season, and Riley Ballentine only lost two matches, both to R-S,” Becker said. “Both have been solid all season.
“The others have stepped up as well and helped the team become successful. It’s definitely been a team effort, and I’m really proud of all of them.”
Polk County players will compete Tuesday in the MF7 conference tournament at Brevard College, with the top five players in singles and doubles qualifying for the 2A West Regional, set for May 5-6 at Gardner-Webb University.
1. Banks Barber d. Noah Winkler 6-1, 6-0; 2. Jack Smith d. Mason Knye 6-2, 6-0; 3. Riley Ballentine d. Graham Banks 6-0, 6-1; 4. Charlie Jackson d. Brantlee Anders 6-1, 6-1; 5. Graham Turner d. Eric Ramirez 6-1, 6-3; 6. McClain Koistinen d. n/a 6-0, 6-1.
1. Barber-Smith d. Winkler-Knye 8-0; 2. Jackson-Ballentine d. Banks-Anders 8-0; 3. Turner-David Amitrano d. Ramirez-n/a 8-2.