The Johnson University Men’s and Women’s tennis teams competed in their last tennis match before the winter season against Maryville College.
The men’s team ended in a tie of 4-4 and the women’s team experienced their first individual win of the season as sophomore Kaitlin Wirey took down her opponent from Maryville College 6-2, 6-2.
Both teams will resume matches on Feb. 13 against LaGrange College.
The NCCAA announced that freshman Benjamin Cutshall was named a NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week.
Although the team had fell 8-1, Cutshall was able to get a win against Emory and Henry College in the singles with the match resulting in 6-4, 6-2.
Cutshall has been playing tennis ever since his sophomore year of high school and continues to enjoy the game in his freshman year at Johnson.
“This season has definitely been humbling to say the least,” he said. “There is definitely room for improvement and I felt victorious towards the end of the first half of the season.”
Cutshall was taken off guard by both his win and by the award.
“It was definitely a surprise being a freshman in college and receiving this award,” Cutshall said. “For the next season, I need to improve on being more aggressive and to move towards the net more.”
Instead of a unique victory dance after a win, Cutshall instead expresses his joy in other ways.
“I don’t really have any specific thing I do for a victory, but I do listen to my favorite music afterwards,” he said. “I’m also the person that will go anywhere if you ask me to go.”
Kaitlin Wirey – along with Dale Hathaway – was also named NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week.
Wirey has been playing tennis for seven years. This is her first year playing for the Royals, but she felt the season went well.
“With me being a transfer student I was nervous, but so far I have loved the Johnson tennis team and the community we have created,” Wirey said. “Despite the fact that we play some difficult teams, it is still fun because we have such a strong community.”
Wirey enjoys playing tennis because it has always been fun for her, and she has set personal goals going into the spring season.
“For the next season my goal is to be better prepared for my knee problems and to improve in playing doubles,” she said.
The head tennis coach, Seth Hale, also had some remarks about the season. He is no stranger to the atmosphere of Johnson and has a clear idea of how the team has developed over the years.
“I’m very excited that this is the first year that we have had a full team with all competitive tennis players,” Coach Hale said. “The players I have are a much deeper-level team and we always try to put our best players against other teams’ best players.”
Overall he feels that the whole team has improved in some way. He also mentioned the leadership role of senior Taylor Barnes.
“Taylor Barnes started off not knowing how to play at all and now is one of the leaders on the team,” he said.
Outside of coaching at Johnson, Hale is a Social Studies teacher at Morristown East High School and is the youth minister at Gap Creek Christian Church.
Hale is excited to see the team play their match against LaGrange College.