Brophy tennis seeks three-peat
February 21, 2019 by Lamar Smith, Arizona State University
The seniors on the Brophy tennis team have established a culture of winning.
Seniors Joshua Belgrad, Drew Postillion, Owen Blake and Garrett Metzler are among a group of seniors who have won back-to-back state titles during their Brophy careers. The group has four losses in three years, including a loss in the 2016 state semifinals against Chaparral.
Head coach Eric Chalmers is not concerned about his team being complacent, despite his team’s success. He as implemented an approach he got from San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
“The last season’s meaningless if you can’t repeat what you did,” Chalmers said. “No accomplishment has any bearing on what this season means. Each season has to be taken on its own.”
The Broncos were undefeated last season and come into this year as the favorites to win the title. However, Brophy’s chance to three-peat could come down to beating Chaparral and Desert Mountain.
Brophy is 2-3 against Chaparral over the past three years including 1-1 in the Division I state playoffs. Desert Mountain gave the Broncos their only other lost in the past three seasons.
Both title matches Brophy has won were over three hours and were tightly contested. Belgrad clinched both wins in his final match including last year being down in the third set 2-5 before rallying for the win. Winning his match 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 against Desert Mountain’s Franco Toscano.
Coach Chalmers has a lot a faith in Belgrad and his ability to galvanize his teammates.
“Josh’s greatest trait is that he never quits,” Chalmers said. “He’s one of those guys that just finds a way to win. That goes the same like our other guys, Drew Postillion, Owen Blake and Garrett Metzler. All those guys have been key contributors to our wins.”
Belgrad is able to stay composed because there is no clock or deadline in tennis, as he describes.
“It’s fun watching me pull myself out of holes… And I’m playing for myself just as much as I’m playing for my team,” Belgrad said.
Out of the 10 guys rotating the main spots on their team,, seven of them are seniors.
However, the best three players on this year’s team are three underclassmen: freshman Jack Brown, sophomore Andrew Chong and sophomore Sean O’Gara. O’Gara and Chong were a part of last year’s title team. Chong won his match in straight sets during the Broncos’ championship match last year.
According to tennis recruiting.net, Brown is the 56th ranked tennis player in the class of 2022.
Brophy players have been working out as a team since the beginning of January. The workouts consisted of an hour and a half of playing tennis, weight lifting, running and footwork drills involving the ladder. The seniors on the team led and organized the workouts.
“They have given me great advice, travelwise and being prepared,” Brown said. "And how to balance school and tennis while we’re in season.”
Brophy is set to compete in two national tournaments -- the California Tennis Classic in Fresno, Calif., and the All-American High School Tennis Invitational in Newport, Calif.