Logan French offered a simple and straightforward reason for Lee’s Summit North’s boys tennis turnaround:
The Broncos really like to play. A lot.
“A lot more people played in the offseason this year,” French said. “We all played in tournaments, we all played each other in pick-up games and we just love playing tennis. And that translates on the court in matches.”
It has so far. North won three of its first four matches before falling to Blue Springs South 6-3 Tuesday on the Broncos’ courts, and they also claimed first place at last weekend’s Truman Invitational. So far it’s a marked improvement over last season, when the Broncos finished 6-11 in duals.
And North coach Stu Reece, much like his No. 1 singles player, believe much of that improvement can be traced back to the offseason.
“We’ve got a good team that put in a lot of work in the offseason, which is important,” Reece said. “If you want to get better, that’s what you have to do. I’m pleased with the guys putting in the effort.”
French has benefitted from that effort, which has helped him rise to the top of the Broncos’ lineup. He’s off to a 3-2 start in singles this season, and he has a 4-1 record in doubles with partner Conner Young. Besides putting in the time at the Hilltop Racquet Club in south Kansas City with many of his teammates, French also honed his game playing the top competition he could find.
“He’s a textbook definition of what you can do when you go to work,” Reece said. “He decided he wanted to turn around his tennis career, be the No. 1 player and compete. Hands down he’s been our most consistent performer all season long.”
French heads a varsity lineup that includes Ben Durbin at No. 2 singles, Logan Leslie at No. 3, C.J. McGurk at No. 4, Jacob Welsh at No. 5 and Joe Hammerly at No. 6. Leslie and Durbin played No. 1 doubles against Blue Springs South, with French and Young at No. 2 and McGurk and Welsh at No. 3.
French lost to Sean Nguyen 6-3, 6-4 Tuesday, while Welsh and Hammerly picked up wins. French and Young had the Broncos’ only win in doubles.
“We’ve been really balanced so far, up and down the lineup,” Reece said. “Tonight we lost some tough matches at the end but they’re sticking together, supporting each other. That’s just what kind of guys they are.”
The match with Blue Springs South marked the start of a busy two weeks for North.
The rainy start to the season compacted the schedule to 10 matches or tournaments over the next 12 days, including Saturday’s annual VanBecelaere Memorial doubles tournament at North. Not long after that stretch comes district play and the postseason.
Good thing these guys like to play tennis so much.
“We kind of had a slow start to the season but it picks up here real quick,” Reece said. “We’ll either start trending in a positive direction or we’re going to get worn out.”