BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The story of the year among area boys tennis teams occurred before any area team had played its first match.
Specifically, it occurred on Aug. 5 when Drew Strasser went down, and Jake Freeman became a hero. Strasser’s sudden cardiac arrest and Freeman’s performing CPR on Strasser in an emergency is about the greatest act of teamwork of which we have heard.
Drew Strasser Jake Freeman
And the story became even more amazing when Strasser and Freeman teamed up for the sectional opener against North Judson on Sept. 28.
And then the story went national when NBC’s “Today”
So the RTC Boys Tennis Players of the Year are Drew Strasser and Jake Freeman, the most memorable doubles team we might be likely to ever see.
We had two new coaches in the area this year in Rochester’s Mason Heyde and Tippecanoe Valley’s Clayton Adamson, and we would like to thank them for their help and insights this year.
Having said that, this list is ours and ours alone, and we take full responsibility for it.
Jake Freeman-Drew Strasser (Rochester) (RTC Players of the Year)
Robert Bozzo-Brayden Zink (Rochester) – Zink needed to move from No. 1 singles to No. 1 doubles to protect an injury. Bozzo was ready to move from No. 2 doubles to No. 1 doubles because of his size, mobility and quick hands at the net. They are the best Rochester doubles team since the Ean Pugh-Austin Utter combination.
Annikan Pettit-Cody Smith (Tippecanoe Valley) – Smith transferred from Rochester to Valley, and his angled serves was an immediate fit with Pettit’s net presence.
Dylan Neese (Tippecanoe Valley) – Neese was a fierce competitor from the baseline who found ways to win tough matches.
Tanner Reinartz (Rochester) – Reinartz’s serve-and-volley game is refreshing compared to the just-keep-it-in-play baseline style that one often sees. With Brock Bowers graduation, one would assume that Reinartz moves up to No. 1 singles last year, where his style will translate even better.
Honorable mention doubles
Tristyn Ragon-Cooper Walls (Tippecanoe Valley)
Honorable mention singles
Brock Bowers (Rochester)
Top: Robert Bozzo, Brayden Zink, Annikan Pettit
Bottom: Cody Smith, Dylan Neese, Tanner Reinartz