For York-Adams boys’ tennis doubles champions, tandem victory that much sweeter
Duos from Bermudian Springs and Dallastown won the league's Class 2A and 3A doubles crowns on Tuesday.
Parker Sanders and Eli Snyder took the court Tuesday afternoon knowing no Bermudian Springs boys’ tennis players had won a county title before. They left the Wisehaven Tennis Center in York with historic gold medals around their necks.
Sanders and Snyder, the No. 1-seeded tandem in the York-Adams League Class 2A doubles tournament, completed their perfect two-day run with a three-set victory over Biglerville’s Guillaume Schmitz and Sean Sneed. They prevailed through four matches in all, with the first two rounds Monday before Tuesday’s semifinals and finals.
“It’s amazing,” Sanders said. “I’m gonna sleep nice tonight.”
Dallastown’s Hayden Koons and Andrew Chronister captured the league’s 3A doubles championship Tuesday, beating Red Lion’s Cooper Wheeler and Andre Nadeau in straight sets. Koons added the triumph to his county singles crown from Saturday. Schmitz won the 2A singles tournament before posting a runner-up showing in doubles.
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Tennis looks a lot different in doubles; with someone always at the net, rallies can become frantic in a hurry. In a sport where players are so often in the spotlight on their own, though, having a teammate is a welcome change of pace.
“It’s a lot more fun, I think,” Koons said. “It’s a lot less pressure. I feel like I can enjoy myself more because there’s another person on the court I can talk to. He can help me out, I can help him out. It’s just a more fun experience.”
Dallastown’s Bobby Nicholson and Neil Patel, who fell to teammates Koons and Chronister in the semifinals Tuesday, rebounded to beat Central York’s Kai MacLennan and Josh Haupt for third place in Class 3A and secure a spot in next weekend’s district doubles tournament at the Hershey Racquet Club. Hanover’s Charlie Zitto and Brian Corona topped teammates Jared Solorzano and Nolan Christopher to secure third place in the 2A bracket.
In York-Adams League matches, teams roll out three singles players and two doubles pairings. Most of the tandems in action Tuesday didn’t spend much time on the court together during the season. That left Sanders and Parker, who played as a doubles team sporadically this spring and competed together in last year’s county tournament, as the veterans of the format. Both players have come to understand the importance of positivity and a forward focus.
“It takes a lot of teamwork and just cheering each other on,” Snyder said. “If we mess up a point, we’ve got to move on and just keep fighting together.”
Koons and Chronister have both been singles stalwarts for York-Adams Division I champion Dallastown all year, finishing first and third in the 3A league tournament. But even as the No. 1 seed in the doubles draw, every match brought about its own feeling-out process and forced both Wildcats to adapt on the fly.
“I’m definitely not a great doubles player, just because I play almost all singles, but it’s more of a learning experience,” Koons said. “In singles, I sort of know everything that’ll happen, almost, and in doubles I just improvise and figure it out more. It’s just a new experience.”
Koons’ busy week started with five victories in three days in the league singles tournament and continued with the doubles tournament Monday and Tuesday. Dallastown will take the court as a team in the District 3 Class 3A tournament Thursday against Lampeter-Strasburg — the match was initially scheduled for Wednesday before being postponed — and Koons will be back in action at the district singles tournament Friday at the Hershey Racquet Club. District team and doubles tournaments fill the slate for the following week.
For Sanders and Snyder, meanwhile, all the eggs were in this basket. Sanders finished fourth in the 2A singles tournament and didn’t know whether he’d be in the district bracket until Tuesday night (he ultimately snuck in). Snyder fell in the league singles quarterfinals, and Bermudian Springs missed the district team tournament by a single place. The duo secured their district doubles berth with a semifinal win over Zitto and Corona before taking aim at school history.
The drama built slowly through the afternoon. Two of the four courts in Wisehaven’s tennis bubble cleared after finals and consolation matches were won in straight sets. The 2A final was the last match going. The Eagles and Canners went back and forth, but Bermudian’s tandem kept their composure from one point to the next, and that may just have made the difference.
“The coaches give us this two-second rule,” Snyder said, “so after you lose a point or mess up a hit or something, you get two seconds to react about it and then you’ve got to move on.”
“Even on a winner shot,” Sanders added, “take those two seconds and then you’re done. Get ready for the next point.”
And their next point together will be on the district stage in Hershey.