GREENVILLE – After playing all season as Greenville’s top two singles players, Noah Haupt and Craig Manges have joined together as a doubles pair and advanced to the district tournament.
The Green Wave juniors won their first three matches in the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament last week in Troy, including defeating the sectional’s fourth ranked team, to earn one of four district-qualifying spots.
“We were kind of hoping they would make it, being first and second singles, but you just never know since they hadn’t played together all year,” Greenville boys tennis coach Dennis Kiser said.
While they hadn’t played together all season, Haupt and Manges were accustomed to playing doubles together in the offseason.
“We play doubles during the summer, and we really enjoy it,” said Haupt, who was the Green Wave’s No. 1 singles player this season. “We’re avid doubles players.”
Haupt and Manges have done so well this season because they’re avid players and spend so much time working on their games, Kiser said.
“They play all the time,” the Greenville coach said. “You’ll see them out here in the summer. They play during the winter. They play a lot. They play a lot together in the summer time.”
Having just resumed doubles play together after several months of playing singles, it has been an adjustment for the Greenville duo to get reacclimated.
“We had to get a few practice matches in to get used to it,” Manges said before Haupt added, “I’d say we’re still getting used to it. It was just a couple matches.”
Now that they made it through the sectionals, the tournament will really get difficult for Haupt and Manges.
In the district tournament, which begins at 9 a.m. Thursday at Centerville High School, the Greenville pair drew Sycamore junior Noah Stern and senior Alex Taylor. Last year Taylor teamed with then-senior Nakul Narendran to win the Division I doubles state championship.
“We want to compete with the first team we play,” Haupt said. “We just want to push them.”
Kiser actually is glad to see his players draw a defending state champion in the first round. They have nothing to lose, he said.
“That’s kind of what I was hoping for because if you’re going to go down there, play the best,” Kiser said. “What else can you do? You’re going to go down there, and you’re going to have fun.”
Haupt and Manges, who already accomplished their goal of reaching the districts, now are just hoping to play their best at the tournament.
“It feels good,” Manges said. “It’s a goal we had from last year, and we were able to meet it.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.