Contributed Photo/Courtesy Chris Cook: Thatcher’s tennis boys are currently ranked No. 2 in Division III, 11-0 in seeding duels, and have won 105 of 117 individual pairings. The team, coached by Chris Cook, includes, from left, Amon Hatch, Aaron Hatch, Brandon Udall, Michael Greer, Talon Brown, Tyler Bierman, and Carson Goodman.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
THATCHER – Thatcher had the top-ranked boys’ tennis team of the 49 competing in Division III through Saturday. However, the Eagles began this week as No. 2 behind Scottsdale Prep, are 11-0 in seeding duels, have won 105 of 117 individual pairings, and have two duels remaining.
The Eagles are an underclassmen-laden varsity team of five sophomores and two freshmen, coached by Chris Cook. The sophomores are Tyler Bierman, Talon Brown, Aaron Hatch, Amon Hatch, and Brandon Udall, while the freshmen are Carson Goodman and Michael Greer.
Cook has two things he asks of his players. He has told them he cares not if they win or lose, as long as they work hard every time on the court and that they have fun. He has reminded the Eagles to smile during breaks in matches.
Hard work and having fun go hand in hand at Thatcher. The Eagles have finished as state champions during four of the last six seasons (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016).
The program has dropped one seeding duel during the same span, going 14-0 plus winning 79 of 81 individual pairings in 2012, 13-1 plus 110-126 in 2013, 14-0 plus 116-122 in 2014, 13-0 plus 107-109 in 2015, 14-0 plus 126-126 in 2016, and 14-0 plus 111-125 in 2017.
In the post-season, The Eagles have gone 4-0 plus won 20 of 23 individual pairings in 2012, 2-1 plus 14-24 in 2013, 4-0 plus 20-26 in 2014, 4-0 plus 20-26 in 2015, 4-0 plus 20-22 in 2016, and 1-1 plus 9-14 in 2017.
Thatcher takes an active 73 consecutive duels win streak into its home duel with No. 28 Willcox on Tuesday, April 10. The Eagles visit No. 4 Safford a week later April 17.