By DANIEL FARROW, Vandegrift Voice
Vandegrift tennis mixed doubles team senior Nicholas Montoya and sophomore Claire Logeman qualified for the state UIL tournament after winning the regional tournament April 26-27. They ultimately fell in the state quarterfinals to a team from Coppell.
They ultimately fell in the state quarterfinals to a team from Coppell.
The 2021-2022 tennis team has been praised by head coach Garrett Pekar, who took the head coaching role in September of 2020. Pekar said he has nothing but positive things to say about the team and atmosphere he’s cultivated.
“The culture of the Vandegrift tennis team is one of discipline, adaptability and positivity,” Pekar said. “[The players] are encouraging to their teammates and their rivals and have built lifelong friendships through our sport.”
Qualifying for the 6A state tournament is one of the highest achievements in Texas UIL sports excellence, and teams around the state are celebrating this accomplishment for their spring tennis season that focuses more on the individual players. While a single individual may not be able to carry a team to a championship in the fall, Pekar singled out two star players who he said made a huge impact on the team’s trajectory by their performance this spring in Montoya and Logeman.
“Winning the regional tournament in mixed doubles is an example of the culmination of a lifetime of training, of improving, of learning and of competing,” Pekar said. “When it comes to team management, I try to foster a culture of self-improvement on our tennis team, a culture where young people aren’t afraid to fail in order to reach for their goals and a culture of accountability where they hold each other to high standards of commitment to being the best they can be.”
Logeman has been extremely effective on the court and has been competing at a “high level” for her age. After being paired with team captain Montoya for mixed doubles, she said that leadership is a very important aspect of the team and their success.
“Student leadership plays a role in the team environment because having a leader is a very important aspect for a team, especially tennis,” Logeman said. “Being able to have someone to look up to and have someone that leads you in the right direction is a really special aspect of a team sport.”
Logeman also believes hard work is a core value for a successful tennis player. She told future Vipers the same as well as to cherish their years in high school athletics.
“My advice for future Viper tennis players is to put in the hard work even when you don’t feel like it, because it really does pay off,” Logeman said. “I also would tell future Vipers to enjoy playing tennis and take in every minute of it because the memories you will gain from your current and future tennis careers is something you will want to cherish.”
The Viper tennis team had the community’s support for their state tournament run, but Pekar emphasized how beneficial tennis can be in many aspects of life outside of these high pressure moments.
“Tennis is the sport of a lifetime,” Pekar said. “Whether your goal is to compete, exercise or socialize, tennis is a tool that will improve your quality of life and teach you a lot along the way.”
The Viper tennis team won first place in mixed doubles at the UIL 6A Regional Tournament held in San Antonio last week. Nico Montoya, senior, and Claire Logeman, sophomore, conquered four rounds to emerge victorious and earn their spot in the state tournament.
The road to the finals was relatively routine for the duo, beating some strong players along the way in straight sets. In the final match however, the team faced adversity throughout a two-and-a-half-hour match against the team from Westwood High School who had previously beaten Montoya and Logeman in the district finals. The Viper athletes encouraged each other, even when behind in the score, to win the match 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
Sophomore, Lauren Tin also competed for her second year in the regional tournament. She placed fourth in girls’ singles after strong victories in her first two rounds and a tough match in the semifinals against Westlake.Tin battled in an electric contest of consistency and explosive shot-making, but narrowly fell short of making the final.
Freshman Griffin Heintz made his first appearance at the tournament in boys’ singles. He played the eventual tournament champion from Reagan High School in the first round. The final score may have been 6-0, 6-3, but Heintz stayed mentally composed and made a formidable opponent for the three-time regional winner.
The next stop for Montoya and Logeman was the UIL State Tournament at the Northside ISD Tennis Center in San Antonio on April 26-27.