Boys tennis finishes regular season undefeated

Maya Waid, Editor-in-Chief

For junior Keenan Glago and sophomore Corey Beshoar, their 2021 tennis season has been like no other. Both Glago and Beshoar have been playing tennis for a few years but became interested in the sport for different reasons. 

“My dad is a good tennis player and he bought me a racket and took me out to play, and it was love at first sight,” Glago said. 

For Beshoar, he originally started playing tennis at the age 13 after watching Swiss tennis star Roger Federer play. 

“I really got into [tennis] because I loved how fast [players] hit the ball. I was watching Roger Federer play. I thought it was so cool how fast he served the ball, and that’s really where it started,” Beshoar said. 

Although student-athletes at Harrisonburg High School have been allowed to participate in their sports in a semi-normal fashion, the global pandemic has still had an effect on Glago and the tennis team; however Glago sees this as an advantage. 

“The only real effect [COVID-19] has had is that we have to play matches at home with masks on. It has actually been an advantage because we practice with [masks] and other teams don’t,” Glago said. 

For Glago, who has been playing tennis since he was six, the mental aspect of the sport is his favorite part of the game. 

“My favorite part of tennis is how much of a psychological game it is. Fifty [percent] of the game is in your head and it takes a lot of focus. In a competitive match the winner is often who had the better mental game,” Glago said. “It’s one of the few sports where, when you are playing singles, you are out there alone. I do love team sports and all the beautiful things that come from being on a team, but being out alone on the court really forces you to reflect on yourself as a player. When you have no one but yourself to blame for a loss or a missed shot, you take responsibility and get better. It’s really a different experience. 

In a year of many uncertainties, Beshoar has also struggled with staying in a healthy state to compete in matches. 

“[The most challenging part for me] is staying healthy. This year I have been getting injured a lot more than previous years. Dealing with [those] injuries has been challenging this year,” Beshoar said. “[My goal] is to play the best I can without getting hurt or injured anymore. [I want to] communicate well with the team, but my ultimate goal is just to get out there and have fun without worrying about it too much.”

If only his second season playing with the boys tennis team, Beshoar competes in both singles and doubles alongside Glago, which has been one of the main highlights of his season. 

“[This season] has been a lot of fun because we hype each other up,” Beshoar said. “I really enjoy playing with Keenan and winning our doubles matches and all the energy we have [playing together].”

This season, the boys tennis team went undefeated in the regular season, for Glago, he feels this is due to the team’s ability to balance the serious side of the game while also having fun. 

“This year has been a blast. Obviously we have been very successful this year on the court, but the best part has been just being around the guys. We have done a great job of finding the perfect balance of working hard and goofing off,” Glago said. “That 10-0 was our first goal of the season and it was nice to reach that, but we are definitely not satisfied; we want more.”

Beshoar feels that some of the success should be credited to the system of support that has been built within the team. 

“[My coach and family] are both very supportive. My coach is also very understanding, so when I have to take time off or I can’t play a match he lets me. All my teammates are [also] supportive so when I get any arm pain they make sure I’m okay. We all support each other,” Beshoar said. “I help string rackets for teammates and the coach will do grips, but we’re all helping each other out.”

Glago also agrees that the culture set by the team’s coach Josh Rodgers has helped to set the expectations high from the start. 

“Coach Rodgers has done an incredible job setting a winning culture. The entire first week we did 90% fitness. He set the bar high from day one and said our goal is to go undefeated and to do that we have to be the team that is the most in-shape. I think we all felt that pay off the week we played a match every day of the week,” Glago said. 

Moving into their regional match Wednesday, May 26, Glago and the team are focused on one match at a time and keeping their winning mindset. 

“For myself, I’m hoping to go as far as I can in the individual tournament and play against some good competition. I think it will give me a good sense of where I am as a player and where I need to get to. I also think Corey and I make a very good doubles team and I am looking forward to seeing how we stack up against some of these powerhouse 5A tennis schools,” Glago said. “I think right now we are just going one point at a time and trusting the process from there. I think that our team has a good chance of making a push in the playoffs, but from here on out our goal is just to win the next point we play in. With that mindset, eventually everything falls into place.”