Boys Tennis | Mayo 4, Century 3

Century vs Mayo Boys Tennis
Century's Alec Sargent returns the ball to Mayo's Philip Wisniewski during a match Thursday at Century. Mayo won the dual 4-3.

Their reputation preceded them.

Thursday, against their biggest rival, it sure paid off for the Mayo boys tennis team.

The Spartans have forever been dominant in doubles under longtime coach Jeff Demaray, who makes teaching that part of the game his specialty.

It was obvious that Mayo has once again put the time in there, as it swept all three of those spots in nipping Century 4-3 in Big Nine Conference play at Century.

Century entered ranked eighth in Class AA, while Mayo had recently slipped out of the top 10.


"I hope this can get us back up there," Demaray said.

Mayo didn’t just win its doubles matches, it dominated them. Nick Stans and Avanish Misra won 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1, Alex Lopez and Rohan Patel 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2, and Josh Aney and Joey Vlahakis 6-3, 6-2 at No. 3.

"We thought it would come down to No. 4 singles," Lopez said. "It was just a matter of whether (Mayo’s Spencer Busch) could get the job done. He never gave up. He just kept battling and kept his head up."

It literally did come down to No. 4 singles, where Busch and Century’s Hunter Thamert were the last ones left on the courts, the dual tied 3-all.

Thamert had a nice early start, winning the first set 7-5. Busch grabbed set No. 2 6-2, but Thamert looked like he had things virtually in the bag in the final set. He built a 5-2 lead.

But then Busch did what Lopez referenced. He refused to give up.

"Spencer really stepped up under pressure," Demaray said. "Especially the last half of that third set, he really elevated his play."

Century, which beat Mayo 4-3 in the Section 1AA final last year to qualify for state (where it finished second overall), has a different collection this season. Gone are a pair of graduated stars, Nick Aney and Matt Christensen, both of them now playing college tennis.


Still, the Panthers remain loaded at the top of their lineup.

Varun Iyer is ranked third in the state and No. 2 player Josh Christensen — who’s grown about six inches from last year and also expanded his tennis game — is a top-15 player, at least.

At No. 3 singles Century has another dominant guy, Alec Sargent. They blew past the competition Thursday, giving up a combined five games.

Sophomore Christensen says senior Iyer is the perfect leader for this bunch.

"He’s a special player," Christensen said. "He pushes us every day. He leads by example, just giving it his all on every point."

As good as the Panthers are in singles, they showed that they have a ways to go in doubles, at least if they’re going to catch Mayo there.

That will be no easy feat. Doubles, after all, is the Spartans’ specialty.


Century vs Mayo Boys Tennis
Mayo’s Simon Kennel returns the ball to Century’s Varun Iyer during a match Thursday at Century.

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