A taste of the NCAA Championships, albeit a first round loss in singles, has only left Andy Bettles hungry for more.
Individual success and a shot at redemption in singles is not what drives Bettles through his final year as a member of the men’s tennis team; Bettles is instead motivated by the chance of making program history in the team competition.
The irony of the matter is that Bettles is the driving force for a team currently ranked No. 19 in the nation.
In matches against Virginia Commonwealth and Clemson this spring, the Broncos found themselves down several matches before Bettles took the court. The fire from head coach Greg Patton’s senior was the spark of hope for Boise State to secure victories in both contests.
“What it does is give this incredible sense of hope to the team,” Patton said. “We’ve been down against other schools that look like they got us down in between the ropes, but then we get some momentum to bring it back. What was the thing that started the fire? It was Andy.”
Facing one of his toughest opponents thus far, Virginia Tech’s Amerigo Contini who is ranked No. 24 in the nation, Bettles was quickly down 5-1 in the third frame. Bettles would battle back making the score 5-2, 5-3, 5-4 and soon 5-5 before eventually losing 7-5.
Despite the loss, Bettles’ efforts were enough to start a fire within the Blue and Orange that led to a team victory against No. 46 Virginia Tech.
“He’s probably one of the greatest warriors that you’ll ever see,” Patton said. “There’s been many times he’s been down or on the verge of absolute disaster and catastrophe and he somehow wills himself back into a match.”
What drives the resilience—a No. 60 individual ranking in the nation and countless comeback victories? Bettles’ teammates.
“Just sticking in there and playing for my teammates gives me an extra drive to get things to happen,”
According to Patton, there are three things that make Bettles an elite tennis player: a sound mind, a strong body and a courageous heart.
“He’s another Spartan at the front of the 300 Spartans ready to take on the vast horde of heathens,”
The drive and demand of one’s self Bettles displays everyday in practice has infected a Broncos squad that is on the verge of making program and national history after beginning the year
ranked No. 48.
In Patton’s mind, without Bettles, Boise State is not the same team.
“This is a different team without Andy,” Patton said. “We’re not just talking about the wins that gets, we’re talking about the presence that he gets.”
With only two months remaining in a standout Boise State career, Bettles has not taken anything for granted, simply enjoying every minute he has left to be a Bronco — looking only to lead Boise State on a deep run at the national level.
“It was an honor to get to NCAA in singles, but I’m always team focused in those goals,” Bettles said. “It’s more about the team rank and everything. If the team does well I do well.”