by Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor
Nick Larson will give a little fist pump here or there, but the Sheboygan South senior tennis player rather let his play do the talking.
“I just don’t like winning by getting into someone’s head, I guess,” he said. “I like to be calm. It’s better for me to react that way. When I lose a point too, I can stay calm.”
Larson is preparing for his second year at No. 1 singles and says it’s better for him to be focused and relaxed on the court.
“It’s just the way I’ve always been,” Larson said. “When I played basketball when I was younger, I never liked to show off. If I did something good I just ran to the other end of the court.”
Redwings’ coach Peter Kautzer likes to see that.
He calls Larson a quiet competitor who has a lot of fire inside of him, but people do not always see it on the court.
“He’s not real showy, flashy, but has a huge competitive drive,” Kautzer said. “There’s guys that he plays that yell, are real showy when they win points, but he just goes about his business and is real methodical. I guess the word that would be best is he’s not a showy kind of guy, he doesn’t like the attention that some guys bring upon themselves when they do some nice things on the court. And he’s done some really nice things on the court.”
Larson, who advanced to sectionals last year, has a competitive spirit that the team is trying to cultivate and build a program with.
“As a coach, it’s probably one of the hardest things to teach,” Kautzer said. “That desire, that competitive spirit that you want to win, that you want to succeed. And he’s got it. I wish all the guys had that.”
To help them get it, Larson sticks around after practice to hit with a teammate or two.
“Just by playing with a guy that’s better than you, I think it does a lot for the younger guys,” Kautzer said.
In the past offseason, Kautzer and Larson talked about things to work on.
So Larson improved his serve by “polishing that up a little bit,” according to his coach. He also worked on his two-handed backhand and coming to the net more than staying at the baseline.
Larson says his goal is to make it to sectionals again and his “ultimate goal” is to get to the state tournament.
Larson, who received some interest from Division III colleges to play tennis next year but decided to study accounting at UW-Green Bay, feels he has to stay focused.
“I can’t take a match off,” he said. “Early in the season last year I lost a few that hurt my record and I could’ve gotten a better seed maybe at subsectionals.”