Brighton boys tennis captures region championship
May 23, 2019 02:17PM
By Josh McFadden
Brighton took home the region title in boys tennis with a dominant performance May 9, 10. (Photo courtesy of Alissa Owen and Ron Meyer.)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
The Brighton boys tennis has been a consistent force for years. This year was no different.
The Bengals won the Region 7 tournament in dominant fashion, with three of the five positions taking first place. The other two positions were runners-up. First singles player Redd Owen and second singles competitor Parker Hopkin won their groups, as did the first doubles pair of Parker Watts and Hardy Owen. The second-place finishers for the Bengals were Mitch Smith, at third singles, and the second doubles team of Justin Allen and Jacob Simmons.
Along with bringing home top honors as a team in region, head coach Natalie Meyer was happy with the season as a whole. She said the players have worked hard on and off the court.
“We had a great season overall — going into the tournament with one- and two-seeded positions in all categories and lots of wins under our belt,” Meyer said prior to the state tournament. “The boys have been practicing as much as they can with the weather, and when we can’t meet as a team, they go inside somewhere and play. They have bonded together and have amazing team support. Some teams at region didn’t really like playing us because of the energy that the team support exudes. The whole team watches and cheers for every match. The team has been able to gain valuable experience this year and increase in mental toughness. We have won several stressfully close matches.”
In preparation for the 5A state tournament, May 16, 18 at Liberty Park, Meyer knew her players had to be focused and put forth their best effort. The Bengals won the 5A crown last year, but finished runners-up to Skyline for the state title.
When Meyer examines the season, she’s just as happy about things that happened outside of matches. She said the most satisfying part of the year has been watching the players and coaches come together for a common cause. She’s amazed at the level of commitment from everyone in the program, not to mention the help and interest from parents and family members.
“We have great family support at all our matches, regardless of being home or away,” she said. “The boys strive for excellence and want to be the best, no matter what position they play. Coaches dedicate countless hours to help the players be successful.”
Even Meyer’s own family gets involved with the team. Her mother, Roseanne Newell, runs the tournament desk at the region tournament each year. Her father, Buck Newell, helps out too.
“I love working with my family and thoroughly enjoy creating a memorable experience for all the players in the tournament,” she said. “I calculated about 24 hours worth of matches in a two-day period, plus outside time for setup, cleanup and organizing. All work from my family for the tournament is volunteer and done out of the love for the sport.”
As for her team, Meyer praises the boys not only for their talents but for the way they conduct themselves.
“I love this group of boys,” she said. “They are respectful, hard-working, dedicated and willing to do what it takes to reach the top. They are true gentlemen on and off the court. I am proud that they represent Brighton tennis no matter where they go. Our time together will be a lifelong memory. I hope the relationships that have developed will last a lifetime.”