Brophy tennis celebrates seniors
April 9, 2020 by Sara Abbott, Arizona State University
Sara Abbott is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Brophy College Prepatory for AZPreps365.com.
The Brophy College Preparatory tennis season may have been canceled, but the Broncos’ dedication to honoring the senior class lives on.
During their all-team virtual practice Thursday, members of the Brophy tennis program paid tribute to the class of 2020 by having a Senior Night. The abrupt end to the tennis season meant the senior class would not be able to finish their high school athletic careers on their terms.
That did not stop the coaching staff and players from finding a way to celebrate the class of 2020’s legacy. The appreciation for the seniors could be felt even through a computer screen.
“It's meaningful because of the effort of having a Senior Night and the coaches giving us this chance to celebrate because it was pretty devastating when we found out that we couldn't have a season,” senior captain Vipul Dua said. “It's good that we still have the same experience as the other seniors, even though it's a little different.”
Some of the typical traditions for the seniors include receiving a blanket, having a presentation in their honor, and an all-senior match followed by a dinner with the whole team.
During the senior dinner, a slideshow is presented with the coaching staff’s favorite memories of each graduating player. The seniors are given the spotlight to share their most memorable moments of being a Bronco, followed by their advice to the underclassmen.
The Broncos traded in the usual dinner for a Google Meet-Up, hosted by tennis coach Eric Chalmers. The ceremony moved to a digital platform, but the traditional presentation remained the same.
“It provided good closure to the end of the season,” said fellow senior captain Dhilan Patel. “It was good to have the coaches talk about us and their experience with us. It means a lot for us to hear the coaches are paying attention, and they actually care about us.”
The achievements during their era include three consecutive gold medals that read State Champions, but the titles and trophies are not the fondest memories for the 2020 class. Each senior shared a story from team bonding as their favorite moment as a Bronco.
“My favorite memory from the past four years is the senior talk that we gave this year on the tennis retreat,” Patel said. “It was a super fun time to hang out with everyone over the retreat and get to know them a little bit better, especially the freshman.”
Patel won his first and last regular match of the 2020 season with doubles partner and fellow captain Dua by his side.
Dua climbed the ladder from not making the team his freshman year to being a team captain his senior season. He expressed the importance of making the most of these moments while participating in high school athletics.
“We have the opportunity to play high school sports; it’s not owed to us,” Dua said. “Don’t take it for granted because we see now that we don't even have a season.”
The emotion of Chalmers transcended the screen of the Google Meet-Up, thanking his team for the journey being his first group to compete from freshman to senior year.
“All four seniors worked hard and are the kind of guys who supply the culture to our team,” Chalmers said. “When they talk about things, like the community they wanted to see, they lived that every day by example for us.”
Dua will go to college in Santa Clara, California, with goals to make the tennis team. Senior tennis player Nik Kozub will continue his education at Arizona State University. Patel will attend the University of Southern California along with fellow senior tennis player Nick Hulston.