Silver Creek Season Wrap-Up: Recapping Men’s Tennis


Chemistry plays a big role in the success of the Boys Tennis team this year. The Raptors carried a 4-2 record throughout the 2020 season. “We all had winning attitudes,” Tennis player Nate Hansen said. “We all had a drive to win which led us all to bond through losses and wins leading our whole team to work very well together.”

Ben Harding, Staff Writer

The 2020 Silver Creek Men’s Tennis season wrapped up on September 25th with the class 4A State Championship.  The season was filled with ups and downs, but the team was just grateful to have a season in this COVID era.  Led by head coach Sara Whiteley, the team finished with a modest 4-5 overall record but carried an impressive 4-2 record in league play.  While the Raptors may not have had the perfect season, there is a lot of evidence from this season that points to the fact that this team is on the rise.  Look out for the Raptors to have a breakout season next year.

The Raptors had more than a few standout players this year.  Playing 2 singles, William Van Vuuren(Sr.) carried a 4-1 record, as did fellow Senior Roberto Esteban Vera.  At 1 doubles, Dario McCormick(Sr.) and Rocco Rosa(Sr.) had a respectable 2-1 record.  The star pairing of the team was Luke Graboski(Sr.) and Shanaan Kelly(Sr.).  They went 1-1 at the 1 doubles spot, but they really shined at the 2 doubles position, where they went 3-0!  Teammate Jake Bator(Fr.) was very impressed with the duo,  “Their chemistry [makes them great], and their play styles really fit each other.”  

While talking to Jake, as well as Sophomore Nate Hansen, it became clear that team chemistry is a big theme on the team.  “We all had winning attitudes,”  Hansen said.  “We all had a drive to win which led us all to bond through losses and wins leading our whole team to work very well together.”  Bator adds, “It was just a great group of people who all really liked one another.”  This culture of being a team and playing to win will strongly benefit the team going forward.

This culture is being built in large part due to the head coach, Sara Whiteley.  In the interviews, Nate and Jake had nothing but amazing things to say about Coach Whiteley.  “Coach Whiteley is an amazing coach,” Hansen shared.  “She encourages us by getting to know us personally and truly caring about us and being there for us on and off the court. So when she talks to you you trust what she’s saying. Along with this when she’s encouraging us, she’s encouraging us to encourage and motivate ourselves which is the best thing a coach has ever done for me and all the partners I had throughout tennis.”  Whiteley is truly a great coach, looking forward to building a culture of winning in the Tennis program at Silver Creek.

Coach Whiteley has motivated Hansen and Bator to get better for next season.  Since they’re both underclassmen, they have a lot of time to get better and improve their craft before their senior season.  When asked how he was going to improve, Jake responded, “Work in the off-season.”  Jake is dedicated to making his game better.  Nate also had thoughts on how he was going to get better.  “Freshman year it was my first time ever playing tennis which led to a drive for the sport which made me practice all winter and summer to be the best I could for sophomore season going from 3 JV to 4 varsity. For next year I’m working on being the best singles player I can be and hopefully achieving top 3 on the team.”  Nate is obviously driven to be the best he can be on the court.  This drive from the players seemed to connect back to the inspiration that Coach Whiteley gives her players, pushing them to give their full effort.

If this culture of hard work and playing together translates into next season, look for the Raptors to have a big year!  The team should be able to improve a lot from this year to next because they were young and inexperienced this season, so they should have a lot more experience going into the 2021 season.  “This year our team was mostly newcomers which made us a weaker team,”  Hansen said.  “So we all grinded but couldn’t come close to the skill of better teams. But after this year sophomores and juniors that I know have been practicing a lot and next year I think we’ll have a super strong team which makes me super excited.”  The drive and determination of the players will surely lead to strong performances next year.  

The culture and pride in their craft that this team display is impressive, to say the least.  2021 should be a great season for the Silver Creek Raptors Men’s Tennis team.