In the young 2017 season, the Castleton Spartans men’s tennis team has gotten off to a perfect start.
With a 5-4 win over in-state rival Norwich, followed by a 8-1 win over Lyndon State and back-to-back 9-0 shutout victories over Green Mountain College and Johnson State, the Spartans sit at 4-0 on the year.
The team is looking to improve on its 11-4 overall record last season, finishing 4-2 in the NAC, but will have to overcome the loss of two dynamic seniors in Soren Pelz-Walsh and Andrew Overton, who recorded an impressive combined overall record of 22-5.
“We are returning most of our starters. We were a third seed last season, but we are looking to improve, hopefully taking the third seed again or moving up to the second or first seed,” said senior captain Tyler Wilcox. “To help us land a good seed, we are looking to finish 5-1 or 6-0 in our conference. It usually comes down to playing Colby Sawyer, which is always a though team, but we’ll see.”
Team members feel they can pick up their play with Quentin Barthe, a returning senior and one of six returning members from the 2016 roster. Bathe was named NAC East All-Conference Second Team for both doubles and singles last season and led the team with 24 wins in all competitions.
Wilcox believes that with the team’s successful offseason and impressive individual improvements from junior Brody Wagner and junior Trevor Hanna, the team can make a serious run once again.
“Those guys have improved their overall game. We are going to rely on them like we do our veterans,” said Wilcox.
Along with the six returning members from the 2016 team, the Spartans have also added some young talent with the recruitment of five freshmen, Spencer Butter, Ethan Cameron-Vaupel, Riley Laughlin, Darwin Norris and Jared Wheeler.
“We expect more from our freshman. They will be held at a higher standard, but it will be good for them in the long run as their careers continue,” said senior captain Seth Marcil.
As for the team’s season goal, Marcil has the same intentions as teammate Wilcox.
“We are looking to grab that second or third seed and even though our team this year is not as strong as we usually are, we are 4-0. We are looking to take that momentum into the playoffs and give Colby Sawyer a run for their money,” he said.