Delta Tennis has not shied away from strong competition over the past two decades, and this weekend was no exception. The Eagles began the Fall 2022 season at the two-day Columbus North Invitational, which featured last year’s State Runner-Up Zionsville along with two other participants in the IHSAA State Final Four a year ago, Jasper and Columbus North.
Delta dropped all three of the matches, losing 0-5 to Jasper on Friday night and then 1-4 to Columbus North on Saturday morning and 0-5 to Zionsville on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles were most competitive in doubles, where Dalton Royal and Riley Bratton battled well against three All-State level teams at No. 1 doubles, and Isaac Anderson and Preston Shanayda had several highlights at No. 2 doubles, including a 3-6, 7-6, (10-5) victory over Columbus North.
Overall, Delta compiled 14 sets of 3-6 or closer on the weekend. The Eagles won about 30% of their varsity games against the rugged competition.
In the spring, the Delta girls opened the season at defending state champ Carmel and won only 14% of their varsity games, then ended up going all the way to the IHSAA Final Four. Of course, the boys aren’t predicting a Final Four run right now, but they did show signs of being another solid Delta team. With continued focus and hard work, they could contend well for conference, sectional and regional titles in a few weeks.
Additional highlights from the weekend:
> Owen Cupp and John Atkinson won two matches together at the JV level.
>Owen Cupp and Kaden Crist won a JV match in a tiebreaker
> Kam Swoboda and James Root won a JV match over Jasper.
> All eligible players got to play at least twice on the weekend.
> About 85 team members and their family members enjoyed a team outing at Ceraland Recreational Park in Columbus on Saturday night. Activities included putt-putt golf, swimming, hitting on the golf range, a large picnic with chicken and mac-and-cheese, and a massive cornhole tournament with 30 teams and eight sets of boards.
Caleb Hewitt and Gabby Knight won the blind-draw cornhole event, rallying to beat Dalton Royal and Jake Bilby in the finals.
Matt McCrady won the long-drive contest, with Blake Shanayda second and Joe Knight third.
> Several team members hit a golf ball on the driving range for the first time.
> Coach Tim’s parents, Dave and Jeanne, provided 144 pieces of fried chicken and four large pans of mac-and-cheese.
All in all, despite the 0-3 record, the team can draw many positives from the weekend. Now it’s on to New Palestine for a conference match at 5:30 p.m. Monday.