Bigger and better for Century freshman

Frueh is one of the top players in the section

By Pat Ruff

That little kid playing tennis for Rochester Century and beating pretty much everyone in his path? You wouldn’t recognize him.

That’s because in the course of one year, the Panthers’ Eric Frueh is all grown up. Well, almost. Frueh had that spurt he’d been waiting for, growing six inches and gaining 15 pounds from a year ago.


He’s now 5-6, 120, or only about three inches shy of where he figures he’ll end up.

Where the third-year varsity player wants to end up this season is in the state team tennis tournament. That’s a long shot, thanks to a certain squad on the southeast end of town that’s coming off a state championship season, and figures to be robust again.

"I would definitely like to knock off Mayo," Frueh said. "I play tennis with a lot of those guys at the (Rochester Athletic Club), and they’re always bragging about how great they are. I like those guys, but I’d love for us to beat them."

What’s not an unrealistic expectation for Frueh is for him to vault into his first state individual tennis tournament. Frueh, who will be playing No. 1 singles for the second straight year at Century, needs to finish in the top two at the section meet in order to qualify for state. He’ll be favored to do that. He’ll even be favored by some to actually win the section event.

That, undoubtedly, would require one quantum step. In his way would be the king of Section 1AA tennis in recent years, Mayo star Amrik Donkena. Donkena landed fourth overall at state last season and is the three-year section champion.

Still, the gap between Donkena, a senior, and Frueh, a freshman, has significantly narrowed. The two played in a United States Tennis Association tournament this past November, and Frueh led before breaking his arm and defaulting.

"I don’t necessarily see (Donkena) as the favorite over me anymore," Frueh said. "I see us as neck and neck now."

Frueh sees that because in gaining size he has gained strength, and with it a more lethal, more powerful game.


"He can hurt people from more positions on the court now," Century coach Scott Boyer said. "Eric has always been consistent, but now he can hurt (opponents) if they make a mistake."

Frueh considered the greatest part of his game to be his speed and craftiness. Now, the speed element just got even better, and probably with less effort than before.

Six inches has sure helped.

"Now, I don’t have as many steps to take," Frueh said.

Page D6: Tennis previews.

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