As cliché as it may sound, the lesson that coach John Bunar wanted to deliver to his kids was that anything could happen when you work hard.
The Duxbury boys’ tennis team spent weekends and holidays practicing for about 3½ hours a day to be the best. On Saturday, at Rahanis Park in Burlington, the Green Dragons’ dedication and hard work paid off as they defeated Winchester, 3-2, to win the Division 2 state title for the first time since 1994.
After rain forced the title match to be postponed on Tuesday and Thursday, Duxbury requested it be played indoors because senior Dan McHugh had a family trip to Ireland planned. The Green Dragons’ request was denied and they had to move forward without their co-captain.
“Wish we could’ve played the match a little earlier this week, but perhaps we got a little better with those extra days of practice,” said Bunar, who dedicated the win to McHugh.
The Sachems started quickly by winning second doubles in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. Duxbury bounced back as Fred Clifford took third singles, 6-0 , 6-1, and Mike Melampy won second singles, 6-1, 6-3.
Leading, 2-1, the Green Dragons and their fans crowded around the court where freshman Eric Seewald was facing off against Winchester’s senior Jake Criss in first singles. Criss took the first set, 6-1.
Seewald said it was simply the nerves of playing in his first championship match that threw him off.
“I just relaxed, settled down and realized after losing the first set that I had nothing to lose,” he explained. “I got confidence and it carried over into the third set.’’
The freshman regained his composure and battled back, winning the next two sets, 6-0, 6-1, to clinch the title. Winchester’s top duo of Patrick Hayes and Yinian Tang out-battled Will Kingsbury and Will Triebel in first doubles to close out the day.
Martha’s Vineyard 4, Bromfield 1 — The Vineyarders won their second straight state title to finish 21-1. Their latest title took on extra meaning when coach Ned Fennessy announced his retirement after the match.
“To repeat is really something, and this is my last match in 23 years as coach, and it took 21 to get [to the state final],” said Fennessy, who estimated his total career coaching wins at around 290.
Vineyard’s wins came from Kent Leonard and Justice Yennie in singles and Jackson McBride and Pat McCarthy at No. 1 doubles and Justin Smith and Ryan Sawyer at No. 2 doubles.
BC High’s doubles team of Charles Morris and Caye Tittmann brought home the MIAA State Individual doubles title, beating Lexington’s Dan Maffa and Jesse Kao, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6. The singles title went to Mount Greylock’s Rohan Shastri, who beat Wayland’s Will Sharton, 7-6, 6-1. Earlier, Shastri beat BC High’s Charles Shewalter in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-1.
Rick Eggleston of the Worcester Telegram contributed to this report.