The secret to the Carmel High School boys tennis team’s success is actually not a secret at all.
“It’s a lot of hard work and competition and that breeds success,” said first-year coach Bryan Hanan, who was previously an assistant. “The thing I’m most impressed with is these guys work their butts off. I never have to tell them to work harder. They just do it because they want to get better. They have personal goals and they know there is someone behind them to take their spot.”
The No. 1 Greyhounds captured their third consecutive state title by edging No. 3 North Central 3-2 Oct. 13 in the championship match at the North Central High School courts.
“We knew our No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles were going to be a battle, and that’s what it probably was going to come down to,” said Hanan, whose team beat North Central 3-2 earlier in the season.
With the match tied 1-1, the No. 1 doubles team of seniors Timmy Dixon and Garrett Lloyd topped North Central’s Nathan Branaman and Brian McAuley 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Seconds later, Carmel junior Presley Thienenman downed Ian Brady 6-0, 6-4 to get the clinching point.
“The last two meant a lot, but to win a third title my senior year meant the most,” Dixon said.
Thienenman said this one was sweeter because the team had to work harder for it, facing the other top teams.
Carmel nipped No. 2 Homestead 3-2 in the quarterfinals and then beat No. 4 Floyd Central 5-0 in the semifinals.
Carmel’s other point came as the No. 2 doubles team of junior Uday Lomada and sophomore Jones McNamar downed Carter Bailey and Josh Gerstein 6-1, 6-3.
The Greyhounds started two freshmen, Broc Fletcher and Srisanth Malpeddi.
Although both dropped their matches to North Central, Fletcher finished 17-3 at No. 2 singles and Malpeddi was 11-4 at No. 3 singles.
“It’s hard to count on freshmen in the state finals, but we always have their back,” Dixon said. “We knew we needed to carry the weight in this one.”