The Epic Saga of the Boys’ Tennis Team

Doug Fuchs, Reporter

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After going undefeated last year in Conference IV, the boys’ tennis team moved up into Conference 3B. The competition has gotten substantially tougher and the Warriors are ready for it.

Coached by Ashley Horishny, also known as “Coachie,” Wantagh Tennis has turned the program upside down in the past few years. When she started in 2015, the same year most of the current players started, an instant bond was made. Although the boys only had 3 wins in the first two years, all of her hard work paid off these past two seasons with outstanding records and playoff hopes in back to back seasons.

The captains of the team, Doug Fuchs (myself), Raul Fernandez, Charlie Mazzer, and Nick Cerasi, have led the team to a strong 7-1 record thus far. After taking its first loss in over a year to Mepham, the team members experienced a rude awakening.

“We realized that the season wasn’t gonna be as easy as last year, and in order to make the playoffs we need everyone to be 100% committed,” says third singles player Andrew Randazzo. Andrew has had a lot of experience playing tennis since he joined the team freshman year along with Raul Fernandez, Charlie Mazzer, Tristan Cruz, Matt Pullman, and myself.

After becoming our third singles player his junior year, Randazzo has been outstanding. He has a keen sense of his surroundings and is always ready to slam the ball down your throat. Randazzo is also a great team player and knows how to get everyone ready for the matches.

Wantagh Tennis is definitely not a team that is lacking chemistry after adding many others throughout high school, including key addition Nick Cerasi. Nick is the No. 1 singles player and a fierce competitor. After joining in his sophomore year, Cerasi’s talent has grown exponentially. He quickly became the best during the undefeated 2017 campaign on a team with no seniors. Cerasi has the ability to get to every shot with his quickness, and is also a very smart player in knowing when to rush or when to stay back and rally. His athletic ability has made him a force to be reckoned with in Conference 3B.

Another staple of the team is second singles player Raul Fernandez. One of the team’s leaders, Fernandez brings the fun to tennis. His antics and hilarious side are something that the team is all about. Everyone on the team is a competitor, and likewise everyone loves to have fun. He is all for the fun and games during practice, but come game time he is in the zone. He is 100% focused and ready to play.

At first doubles is myself and Charlie Mazzer, a duo that is two years strong and has led to a great bond and even greater chemistry on the court. Neither of us like to lose so we play our hardest and keep each other going after mistakes or minor errors. With both of us having fast forehands and decent net play we’re able to control the court to our liking and finish with a slam. Were constantly pushing each other to be our best so that were ready for whatever challenge we face.

Coming in at second doubles is senior Tristan Cruz and freshman TJ Cerasi. Cruz, being a 4-year veteran, has been one of the hardest workers on the team and is always trying to improve. With the experience he brings to second doubles, TJ has been able to learn and get better thanks to tips and advice from his teammate. Being the brother of first singles Nick Cerasi, there are high hopes for the rookie to take over the team once the seniors are gone.

Arguably our best net play duo, Matt Pullman and “Baymen Stud” Kieran Baisley run the show at third doubles. With minimal losses in both players’ careers, they both know how to win. With the speed Baisley brings, he is able to get to every ball and set up Pullman to lay the smackdown. With an unrelenting spike Pullman makes a shot that is completely unreturnable and leads to an enormous amount of finishes.

Finally, at fourth doubles we have John King and Brett Pine. With King being a sophomore and Pine being a first-year senior, there was little experience between the two, but they have found a way to make things work and have proved their consistency in practice and in matches.

This team would be nothing without its bench. Players like Mike Linekin, whose motto is “know your role,” do exactly what you would expect them to do. They hype up the starters and fill in when needed. Others like Chris Laibach, Connor Pecinka, Brandon Schroh, Bredon Markowski aka “snack fiend”, Carson Rodriguez, Cristian Barberio, Jacob Don, Mark Russo, and Matty Russo have all made this team into an experience none of us will forget.

It’s been an amazing ride these past four years and we’ve made memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you to everyone who has supported us from our 1-13 seasons to our 14-0 undefeated seasons. We hope to put up another banner this year and to go out with a lot of aces!

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