By Travis Smola
“I think that every match we go out, we’re getting better,” Vicksburg head varsity tennis coach Warner Offord said after a match was called early due to rain.
The boys started off the year a little slow but started picking up some dominating wins starting with Otsego and Battle Creek Pennfield, beating those teams 7-1 and 8-0 respectively.
The team finished third at the Marshall Quad against Dexter, Marshall and Kalamazoo Christian and then won their own home quad against Lakeshore, Comstock Park and Niles.
“The guys are showing me they really want to win matches and so I’m hoping we just keep up that attitude,” Offord said.
In one of their most recent home matchups, the Bulldogs had a dominating performance against rival Three Rivers. Doubles was a clean sweep for Vicksburg as the number one doubles team of John Kim and Drake Steel won 6-1, 6-1. The number two team of Gage Bainter and Garrett Patnoude won by the same score. Ben Dilly and Sean Kelly took the number three doubles 6-0, 6-2 and Thomas Harsha and Gage Stenger easily won the number four doubles 6-0, 6-0.
Zack Myers won the number four singles by default. Andrew Reno fell to the Wildcats 6-2, 6-3 while Edgar Kim took the number two singles 6-0, 6-1.
But most eyes this season have been on senior Ayden Flickinger, who easily defeated his Three Rivers opponent 6-0, 6-0. Most of Flickinger’s season has been dominant. He’s only lost a few matches all year. Early in the year, he beat tough opponents from large schools like Chelsea, East Kentwood and Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
That last opponent was a dogfight. Flickinger eventually prevailed in a 6-2, 3-6, 12-10 contest. Offord said watching his growth over his high school career has been especially rewarding this year. “Over the last three years he got better and better,” Offord said. “And this year he just took it to another level.”
As the season winds down, Offord said they are taking things slow and hoping for good things as the final tournaments of the year approach. “We’re taking it one match at a time,” he said.