By: Ty O'Neil
The 2017 season for the varsity boy's tennis team finished in a familiar territory, proving once again Clarkston Tennis is a dynasty here to stay. Clarkston's recipe for success continued to play out for the third straight year in a row, with essential senior leadership; as well as eccentric, aspiring young talent from the under classmen. The abundant potential that continues to flow from this program is quite remarkable, and adequate to something of a 'fountain of youth'. Freshman Noah Fasczewski and sophomores Frankie Piana and Luke Baylis spearheaded an extremely impressive singles lineup, providing relentless energy and integrity to every match. Not to be forgotten were pragmatic and influential upperclassman, such as Jacob Burkett who put forth a solid season at the second singles role, but also 3 year varsity players Charlie's Lussenhop, Jason Richards and Shane McArthur. Varsity newcomers Jed Horst, Max Meehan, Evan Walsh, Adam Zentner, Brendan Aughe and Ike Yeloushan proved their worth this year, not letting their team down when it came to states and regionals.
These two final tournaments are typically the climax of the season, where players play their most competitive matches and coaches display their best tactics. Coach Claus and his boys have advanced out of regionals for the third straight year in a row, continuing their winning traditions. Their second place finish behind perennial powerhouse Bloomfield Hills was all that was necessary to get into states. Singles players Luke Baylis, Jacob Burkett, Frankie Piana and Noah Fasczewski were integral pieces of this run, getting most of the points required to place behind Bloomfield; who was the only singles team to beat us throughout the tournament. After what seemed like a picture perfect finish season, their golden path to states was cut short when in the first day of state's Noah Fasczewski was upset in the first match. This proved to ruin the positive direction the team was posing to go towards. By the last day of the tournament, Clarkston's Luke Baylis and Jacob Burkett put together a few wins and the team salvaged a ninth place finish across the state of Michigan. When asking team captain and senior Charlie Lussenhop why the team has been so successful in recent years, he replied. "I would say there's no coincidence that I have been on three of the four teams to ever go to states in our program's history." After the banter Lussenhop seriously replied, "The success actually is due to our assistant coach Lee Keating's ability to help train our youth coming up here at local Deer Lake Athletic Club. While that's where the talent might come from, Coach Claus does an amazing job of providing support, both emotional and tactical throughout our season." Regarding emotional support, there was certainly no lack of that after number two singles player Jacob Burkett recently lost his brother this past year in an accident. The players came together as a family and provided nothing but support and love to Jacob and his family. This caring atmosphere surrounding the program translated to success and chemistry on the court.
While the boys may have had a great year, with nothing but integrity and finesse on the court, one theme stayed true. They proved once again that outside the lines, Clarkston Tennis is a program unified and proven successful.