AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas men’s tennis team went through adversity that could’ve easily buried a less mature team. Losing their head coach due to a cheating scandal halfway through the season, the Longhorns not only remained steady after Michael Center was fired, but flourished down the stretch resulting in a national championship.
“It was just a culmination of all the hard work we put in. All the distractions that happened over the season, we just put them off to the side and focused on the tennis,” said Westwood High School product Collin Markes, who earned one of the championship points against Wake Forest.
A roster full of upperclassmen kept the Longhorns engaged and focused on the ultimate goal of winning it all. Center’s departure was used as a rallying moment and the team made that clear beating No. 1 Ohio State a few days after the news broke.
Texas realized all of its hard work after defeating Wake Forest for the program’s first national championship. Five Longhorn seniors finished their careers with a win.
“There’s no better way to finish a season…to finish my last six matches winning all of them means something really special for me and for the team too,” senior Rodrigo Banzer said.
The Longhorns lost the doubles point to Wake Forest starting the championship match in a 1-0 hole. They rallied just like they have all season, pulling off four straight points to clinch the win.
“We knew a lot of people marked us off and counting on us to dip out in an earlier round and that fired us up to prove some people wrong. It feels really nice to do that,” Markes said.