Grapevine wins first-ever tennis state championship
Posted Monday, Nov. 10, 2014
BY JOHN ENGLISH
Special to the Star-Telegram
The Grapevine tennis team accomplished something last week that it never has in its illustrious athletics history – it won a state championship in the sport of team tennis.
The Mustangs tennis squad ended up defeating McKinney North in the state semifinals and Boerne Champion in the championship match to bring the title home to Grapevine, and coach Angel Martinez said he can hardly express his elation for his team and the school. “I was going through a myriad of emotions,” Martinez said. “The thing that stood out the most was that we set this goal last year when we lost to Southlake Carroll High School in the regional semifinals. At that time, we vowed not to lose another playoff game in 2014. To my amazement, we have accomplished that goal.”
Martinez said that he was really impressed with his teams’ performance as well. “The team was amazingly loose,” Martinez said. “At first I was really concerned about it, but when I talked to (assistant) coach Steve Bottoms, he mentioned that might have probably been the best thing for our team. After thinking about it for a while, I agreed with him. The team was loose, but confident, not cocky, and they went on to perform incredibly well. In the state title, we did have our moments that we were a little tight, because we had never been there before. Our opponents had. But the talent that we had on our team took over and it came out to have the results in our favor.”
Martinez said that he got great play from most of his players, but said that Alex Joseph and Miha Valencic have been lights out for the Mustangs. “Our number one boys doubles continued their streak throughout the year,” Martinez said. “This includes wins over Highland Park, Plano West and McKinney North. There were times when they had to face some very tough opponents … with big serves and cannon shots, and they took it in stride and came out on top.”
Martinez said that while he is aware of the fact that Grapevine are state champs, it has still not really sunk in just yet. “I’m still trying to digest the fact that we won the state championship,” Martinez said. “I’m sitting in my office right now, and I’m looking at
the state championship trophy and it seems very surreal. I can’t get my hands around the fact that we’ve accomplished this. When I first started coaching in the 1980s, it was a dream of mine. I never thought I would have the opportunity to coach a state championship caliber team … we were competing against teams that had three times the enrollment we had and it was always very difficult no matter how talented we were.”
Martinez said that there are a couple of things will remember most about his final season at Grapevine. “I will always remember the individual performances of each and every one of these kids,” Martinez said. “There were moments when we were down and the kids questioned themselves, but after we met they always came out firing and came out on top and never game up. They battled no matter what … the thing I will remember most was the sense of family and unity these kids have and how everyone cared."