Hanover boys tennis has eyes on state championship

Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm

“Our goal is the state championship. Anything less than that is a failure to us.”

Hanover’s Danny Polk serves against Glen Allen Tuesday afternoon.

Hanover’s Danny Polk serves against Glen Allen Tuesday afternoon.

Those were the strong, confident words of four-year starter, and number one starter for Hanover boys tennis, Danny Polk, right after the Hawks dispensed former Capital District, and new Conference 20 rival Glen Allen 9-0 Tuesday afternoon at Glen Allen.

Hanover, now 3-2, only allowed the Jaguars to win four games in six combined singles matches. Polk swept Jordan Ames 6-0, 6-0. Number five starter Lanning Blaser also took a 6-0, 6-0 win over Conrad Faett.

In doubles, Polk and partner James Pollard led 2-1 and faced three deuce points before seizing game four, then cruising to an 8-1 victory over Ames and David Magat. Logan Healy joined Blaser for an 8-2 win over Faett and Jack McGolrick, while Zachary Palmer and Morgan Cole, both sophomores, took an 8-1 win in the final doubles match.

First-year Hanover head coach Bill Wheaton pronounced satisfaction with his doubles grouping after having to start the season finding new combinations. Wheaton also finds an early schedule that included back-to-back losses on back-to-back days to Cosby and Henrico as a blessing in disguise.

“I’d much rather have them early in the season than late in the season,” Wheaton opined.

“Even after starting 0-2, I told the guys, look, what this means is we can finish 14-2,” Polk recalled. “We had chances to clinch the match when we were tied 4-4 at Cosby. With Henrico, we lost three three-set singles matches and an 8-6 doubles match. Instead of losing 7-2, we could’ve won 7-2, so it’s all a learning experience.”

After the dominant performance at Glen Allen, the Hawks face more old Capital District rivals, including an April 29 trip to Henrico, and one more Conference 20 opponent, traveling to Midlothian April 28. The Trojans are 3-3 and will present Hanover’s biggest challenge in the conference.

Meanwhile, Wheaton continues to settle in to his first journey with a group of, in his words, “15 good tennis players.”

“I get to teach and coach, get on the bus, and I get free pizza at every match. It cuts down on the food bill,” Wheaton joked, showing a laid-back, confident style that permeates the Hawks roster.

And if Hanover continues to dominate the way they did Tuesday, the team’s goal of the 4A State Title is more than attainable.

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