Brooks Kendall’s high school tennis career has been an exercise in patience.
As a sophomore two years ago, and as a junior last season, he finished third place overall in the state singles tournament — an impressive feat, but one that left him still seeking his ultimate prize: his own state 6A singles title.
On Saturday, Kendall accomplished his goal, and helped propel his Lancer team to its third 6A tennis title in as many years.
“I think it was a sense of relief for him,” said SM East coach Sue Chipman. “He knew he was going to get his turn. He just had to wait until the older boys had gotten theirs.”
Kendall actually faced his own teammate, SM East junior Jack Santilli, in the final, winning 6-5, 6-1.
In doubles — a recent area of strength for the team — SM East endured a setback with the injury of Reese Goulding a couple weeks ago, forcing the team to shift its doubles lineup heading into state play. Jamie McDonald, Goulding’s usual partner, played alongside Elliott Renft and finished sixth overall. Jeff Larrabbee and Matt Schuetz, the other SM East doubles team, finished eighth.
Chipman said the tennis squad hung together and worked hard to earn the school’s three-peat.
“We had a little bit of a blip with Reese’s injury, but the team went with it and worked hard to get past it,” she said. “They all worked really hard to get to that point in the season.”
And SM East’s prospects for a fourth consecutive championship are relatively bright. Goulding, a junior, and Santilli will both be eligible to play again next year. Chipman said Santilli may not be able to come back to the team if he decides to pursue playing in more USTA tournaments, but that she “hopes he’ll come back and play for the school.”
“He plays at such a high level,” she said. “We’d love to have him back.”