Men’s tennis finishes No. 6 in conference

Emma Knudson, Staff writer

In a season mixed with high and low points, the Linfield men’s tennis team exemplified camaraderie and tenacity until the season’s close on April 15.

Along with few team highlights, which include defeating a few regional teams and establishing a solid position in the conference rankings, there were many individual highlights.

“Watching senior Ben McNair have a great season in singles and doubles is a definite high point for me,” head coach Ben Belletto said.

“Our No. 3 doubles team of Nathan Saragoza and JT Barcellos played phenomenal tennis the second half of the season. Trent Prussing played inspired and beautiful tennis all season.”

Many teammates agreed that lone senior McNair performed at the top of his game throughout the season.

“He went 4-0 in his last weekend of competition and ended his college career playing great tennis,” junior Jacob Mangan said.

In addition to McNair’s solid season, junior Nathan Saragoza showed that he’s become a threat in the Northwest Conference. He and Luis Rojas earned all-NWC second team honors, which was decided by a collective NWC men’s tennis coach vote.

“[Nathan] really improved his game this year and solidified himself as a guy who can play with the best players in the conference,” teammate Prussing said.

Their hard work will carry through to next season, where Mangan says he looks forward to having five seniors, himself included, and to help lead the team to more breakthroughs.

“I am most excited to make one last push for the conference with this team,” he said. “I definitely developed a lot as a player and I look forward to further honing in on the type of tennis I want to play for the next season.”

Saragoza echoed Mangan’s excitement, as he too is heading into his final season of tennis for the 2018-2019 school year. “We all individually have stuff to work on next season and I’m excited to see it all come together,” he said. “We had take aways from every match and can’t wait to improve next season.”

Above all, the team dynamic was the highlight of the season for coach Belletto. “The team dynamic improved throughout the season and really became our strength,” he said. This dynamic made for an enjoyable year coaching, despite their desires for a more favorable season outcome.

“The best part of coaching this team is the people. The guys have worked extremely hard and put their faith in the process that leads to success. The best part of my day by far is practice. I’m already looking forward to the fall.”