Winston Churchill High School’s No. 1 singles player, Will Szamossegi, said he battled lapses in focus on the frigid Thursday afternoon during the opening day of the boys tennis season across Montgomery County.
Matched up against Northwest’s top player, Stanley Ting, Szamossegi was frustrated after surrendering too many double faults and uncharacteristic winners.
“Overall, I’m pretty happy,” Szamossegi said. “The problem was I started zoning out during the match. When it would go to 40-love, I wouldn’t really be thinking much but then when it got back to deuce I got better.”
All that and he still won, 6-1, 6-0. If Szamossegi can perform that well while “zoning out,” imagine what he’ll be able to do when he’s totally locked in.
Behind a solid performance from Szamossegi, the Bulldogs started the season with a 7-0 victory against Northwest on an overcast day when temperatures rested in the low 30s. A mild breeze didn’t help things.
“I feel good. Even though it’s cold, we all played well,” said Churchill’s No. 3 singles player Michael Gauch, who beat Matt Quattrociocchi, 6-2, 6-1. “We were moving well, which is what you have to do when it’s cold. Just move around.”
As it has been for at least the previous five years, Thomas S. Wootton remains the favorite to win the county title, but Churchill believes it can challenge the Patriots, especially after returning a majority of its starters.
“We were really close last year losing by a couple points [to Wootton in the county finals],” Gauch said. “I feel like we have some new players on the team, but we have a good shot against them.”
Both Szamossegi and Gauch agreed that they like having Wootton receive most of the attention as the favorites as it allows them to relax more.
“It takes some of the pressure off of us a little bit,” Gauch said. “It keeps us motivated. We have a goal, but the target is on their backs.”
For Northwest, despite the season-opening loss, the 2013 campaign holds plenty of promise. The Jaguars return nine of their 10 starters from last season and despite some tilted scores, there were plenty of skilled shots throughout the afternoon.
“The only way you get better is by playing better opponents,” Northwest coach Jeff Barnes said. “We’ll come back and work on some of these things and improve. But give credit to Churchill. They’re going to have a chance to win the county. They’re talented from top to bottom. Just too much talent for us.”
Winston Churchill 7, Northwest 0
No. 1 Will Szamossegi (WC) d. Stanley Ting (N), 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 Kevin Chen (WC) d. David Snyder (N), 6-2, 6-2
No. 3 Michael Gauch (WC) d. Matt Quattrociocchi (N), 6-2, 6-1
No. 4 Sohrob Ganjbaksh (WC) d. Jake Griffin (N), 6-2, 6-1
No. 1 Chris Gauch/Elliot Thaker (WC) d. Marshall Hairston/Soham Dalal (N), 6-1, 6-1
No. 2 Kevin Wang/Jared Spiegel (WC) d. Greg Parker/Arjun Patel (N), 6-1, 6-1
No. 3 Johnson Luo/Kevin Zhang (WC) d. Aaron Lee/Tim Lee (N), 6-0, 6-3