The Boise State men’s tennis team is looking to bounce back this season after going 11-10 last year, and having some key returners could help them have high-level success. Although a number of team members graduated, there are some new faces looking to help this team improve.
The Broncos’ first match of the 2019-20 season against No. 5 Baylor University ended in a 7-0 loss. But one player was not concerned by the score because it did not accurately reflect how well the team played.
“We competed at a really high level, and we were right there in every match,” said senior Wyatt Demulling. “I couldn’t be happier with how we played.”
After their tough season opener, the Broncos quickly turned around to pick up a perfect 4-0 weekend, sweeping both Montana State and Seattle University 7-0 on Jan. 24 and 25, then both Idaho State and Whitman 7-0 on Jan. 26.
“We talked about making a statement today, it’s easy to relax against a team you should beat and then it gets close,” said head coach Kristian Widen after Friday’s win. “But today, these guys came out and showed the home crowd what we can do.”
Boise State’s senior captains, Demulling and Ryland McDermott, are looking to lead their new team not only to a good season but an even better work ethic. Many of the newer and younger players have already expressed appreciation for their captains.
“They have been absolute role models to me,” said Kyryll Kryvchun, a junior transfer student from Mesa Community College. “They embody what bleeding blue and being blue-collar is; everybody steps out on the court and [the captains]are the first out there. They are unbelievable people to look up to as an athlete because they show you the right things to do every day and I want to follow in their footsteps.”
While any designated team leader has clear importance to a team, it is the respect from their teammates which tends to define their impact. Junior Blake Blaydon, who transferred to Boise State from Barry University, credits his successful transition to the work of the captains.
“They showed me what it is like, first off the culture and how the team works as a whole; the captains do a really good job of that,” Blaydon said.
A new season brings new teammates together and a successful season can all start with one gathering, even if it is just a practice. Everybody has their own thoughts on what a new season means to them, but to some, the simple act of getting to play with the team is most significant.
“I am looking forward to everything; competing with one another and mainly seeing how the new guys are going to do,” Demulling said. “They come in and it is their first season here as a Bronco… It is really fun to see all of the guys thrive on the energy and the energy we give one another.”
For Kryvchun, the new season marks his first as a Division I tennis player. Having transferred from a community college, he is excited to improve and adapt to the new atmosphere.
“Everything is fresh and get a chance to prove yourself again and the past results don’t matter as much and you just build on those past results if they do matter,” Kryvchun said. “The environment here compared to the junior colleges I played at are completely different, mainly because this is such a positive atmosphere. At a junior college, everyone is there for themselves so they can transfer somewhere.”