State tennis tournament against Lakeside Evans ends in Panthers’ defeat


Gary Peurifoy

A senior jumps to send the ball flying back across the net with a backhand swing. With the boys’ team graduating eight seniors, head coach Ronald Mann will look to the remaining underclassmen to continue the team’s impressive region record and post-season success.

Chandler Cummings-McBride, Features co-Editor

On May 7, the boys’ varsity tennis team hoped to pull out another state win similar to the one in 2014 at the tennis state AAAAA title match. Unfortunately, Lakeside Evans’s team overthrew the Panthers’ number one spot, defeating Starr’s Mill 3-1 in the final round of the state playoffs.

“Our boys played hard, and the match was literally decided by a handful of points played,” head coach Ronald Mann said. “We always learn and move forward to grow and be better people.”

Over the past four years, the boys have won 94% of their matches and amassed a 30-0 record in the region. The overall success of the team these past four years owes itself to the close-knit relationship and hard work ethic from each team member.

The starting lineup consisted of mostly seniors, including Dubie Dubin, Max Yelken, and John Hunter for singles. Starters for doubles were senior Shaaz Peerani with junior Noah McPherson, and sophomore Davis Wall with junior Cam Kelly.

“Dubie Dubin, Shaaz Peerani, John Hunter, Max Yelken, Drew Dohany, Corey Soper, Gabe Mann, and Will Potkulski [all seniors] will be missed tremendously, but they have all left their marks on this program to carry on and move forward like every other elite, graduating class has,” Mann said.  

The starting lineup for next year is to be determined, but Mann does have an idea of who he needs to step up on the court.

“We will need leadership from Noah McPherson, Davis Wall, Cam Kelly, Chris Sellers, and some of the younger players,” Mann said. “[The ultimate goal for next year consists of] nothing less than playing our best, playing the best competition, and supporting each other.”

The boys’ team even garnered support from the girls’ team, despite their 4-0 loss to Cambridge in the quarterfinals.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match for them, but they are a really good team so I was excited to watch them,” junior Olivia Walker said.

The overall success of the tennis program extends beyond the court.  “The tennis program is one, quite large family that must work together.  I have been coaching for 20 years now, and without support from the school with administration, especially Mrs. [Terri] Watkins, my fantastic Booster [Club] parents, coach [Emily] Woodward, my always-working hard players, and His guidance, none of this is possible,” Mann said. “The legacy of this program rests solely on the shoulders of all involved.”