Tennis team earns East Catholic's 50th state championship
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Jun. 14, 2013
The East Catholic High School boys' tennis team made school history on Saturday, June 1, when it earned the high school's 50th tournament victory. East Catholic won the Class S state championship against Weston High School and simultaneously ended Weston's 11-year run as the class state champion.
“It feels terrific,” said tennis coach and social studies teacher Ryan Healey. “As a coach, it's my first state championship. And being a history teacher, I appreciate the sentimental value of what it's like to win a 50th.”
Healey believes it was the quarterfinals on Thursday, May 30, that cinched it. “That was the day we had a lot of kids left in the competition and Weston was limited,” he said. “We had six, they had four. That's unheard of, to have all three of your teams in the quarter finals.”
Two freshmen, Hunter Stone and Eric Weinstein, made significant and unexpected gains for the team. Chris Waung and Danny Waung making it to the quarterfinals in the singles, also contributed to the team's depth.
His top doubles team, Steven Boccia and Jamie Parla, defeated Bolton High School in the quarterfinals, and then defeated Weston in the semifinals, thus securing East Catholic's point total. “Weston, with their last doubles team, could not win out,” Healey said. While Weston's second doubles team did beat Boccia and Parla in the June 1 finals, East Catholic was still the victor. Healey is proud of how both athletes performed. “They just played some great tennis three days in a row,” he said.
Even as they celebrate this year's victory, Healey is remaining mindful of next season. He loses his number-one singles player, Chris Waung, as well as one half of his top doubles team, Jamie Parla. He also loses a younger player, who is moving, sophomore Luke Gerber. Gerber did not make the 10-player state tournament bracket this year, but Healey believes he would have been a key contributor next year. “I'm really sad to see him go. He was a great compliment to our doubles this year,” the coach said.
Despite the loss of team members, Healey has high hopes for the team. “I think our guys are hungry. We're only losing those three players,” he said. He has great expectations for Chris Waung's brother, Danny, and is optimistic about the young team. If the team receives another infusion of younger players who play as well as freshmen Stone and Weinstein did, they will be poised to once again be a powerhouse.
“I'm very proud of the boys. Every year, they've made the commitment to make themselves a little better from one year to the next,” said Healey. The success of this year gave the team a surge of confidence that Healey believes will motivate them further. “I think Weston is going to come back hard to regain their title, but we'll be ready for them,” he said. “I wouldn't count us out for next year.”