Tennis team hopes to place or earn 10 points to advance to States


Maggie Roehling

Sophomore Chris Sandler playing a singles match at Leagues, hosted at Rochester High School on Thursday September 29th.

Victoria Wendt, Staff Writer

Junior Santhosh Narayanan has never lost a tennis match this year. As the number one singles player on the team, Narayanan is a big reason why the tennis team got first place in the Oakland Athletic Association League and made it to regionals on Thursday, Oct. 8.

“I like singles because you can control your own points,” Narayanan said. “You’re in control and you’re not dependent on another person.”

Coach Jerry Murphy is pleased to have Narayanan on his team.

“The strongest player on our team goes to International Academy and is a junior named Santhosh Narayanan,” Coach Jerry Murphy said.

Narayanan has a few techniques that help him perform well.

“I prepare by eating food and sleeping a lot,” Narayanan said. “[When I’m playing] I think of hitting the ball in hard. I think about where the ball is going before I hit it there.”

Number two doubles player, senior Brenden Beckstorm has a few of his own techniques as well.

“We just work it,” Beckstrom said. “We use signals and blind instinct to create something beautiful on the court.”

Beckstrom’s doubles partner is senior Nathan Kustasz explained that the biggest challenge they faced in leagues was weather, as it was cold and windy.

“It’s not really the cold, it’s the wind,” Kustasz said. “The wind alters, depending on what side you’re playing. You put more spin on the ball if you’re going downwind.”

The 12-guy varsity squad hopes to perform well enough at regionals to make first or second place or score 10 points in order to make it to states the second year in a row. Being able to qualify by point total is a new aspect of the game that coach Murphy helped institute statewide to make it possible for all the best teams to qualify for states.

“The Murphy rule is, if you get enough points, a third team can qualify and get to go to the tournament,” coach Murphy said. “It took five years to get the rule approved. Last year was the first year in all my years of coaching that my team were able to go to the tournament because of the rule.”

Number one singles player Santhosh Narayanan earned fourth seed, number one seed doubles players Ben Morrow and Nathan Abreo got second seed and number two doubles players Beckstrom and Kustasz got third seed for the regionals tournament. Together with the rest of their team, they hope to place first, second or earn 10 points.

Part of the challenge for Rochester is playing in an extremely competitive regional, with schools from Bloomfield and Birmingham often earning first and second. According to coach Murphy, good teams like Rochester, Rochester Adams, Stoney Creek and Clarkston haven’t had as many appearances at States because of this, and now that they have the ability to qualify by earning 10 points, that’s what they hope to do at Regionals.

“Clarkston or Adams will be my toughest competition,” Narayanan said. “One guy is, like, 6’ 3”, super buff and hits the ball really hard. The Adams guy is one of my friends and he plays really similar to me.”