Big Rapids boys tennis edges Sparta 5-3

Big Rapids singles player Michael Steffens fires the ball over the net during Thursday’s tennis match. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

BIG RAPIDS  — They may be young but they’re getting the job done.

The Big Rapids boys tennis team edged Sparta 5-3 Thursday at Big Rapids High School.

No. 1 singles player Michael Steffens won his match 6-3, 6-0 after trailing 2-3 in the first set.

“Michael just wears down opponents,” Big Rapids coach Austin Brinker said. “In the first set, he adapted to what the opponent was doing. I think he won 10 straight games.”

No. 1 doubles duo Jonah Weber/Spencer Olen (6-0, 6-3) and No. 2 doubles Tyler Bigford/Owen Bomay (6-4, 6-2) earned wins and No. 3 doubles Bryce Courtright/Alex Dubowski wand No. 4 doubles Waylon Dunkel/Jacob McLeod won via default.

“The doubles played really well,” Brinker said. “We switched partners a week ago and they’re starting to play well together. They’re winning more points that they should be winning.”

Entering the season, Big Rapids faced the tall task of replacing several members from last year’s team. Seven players from the 12-man roster graduated including singles players Ethan Westerkamp and Ryan Draves, as well as doubles players Caleb Price, Johnny Yonker, James McMullen, James Morgan, and Austin Arquette.

The Cardinals have 11 freshmen on the roster that have steadily improved from the start of the season. Big Rapids hopes to use the regular season to gear up for a run during regional play.

“The whole team is freshmen, they’re becoming more proud of what they’re doing,” Brinker said. “They’re playing with a lot more energy and are believing in themselves. Overall, we’re improving a lot. Our region is tough, but we’re trending in the right direction.

“I’m super proud of them.”

The Cardinals will take a trip to Whitehall on Saturday for a tournament.

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