Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

Trojan boys win big in warmup for SEC meet Monday

By Justin Webster | May 04, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo Trojan Dante Cingire played for MSAE in middle school and joined the FHS team for his senior season.

Three Fairfield senior boys on the tennis team played in their last regular season match of 2018 Thursday night at the middle school courts in the Trojans convincing 7-2 conference victory over Keokuk.

Although Head Coach Bill Sheppard’s No. 1 player, Gannon Courtright, lost 3-6, 6-7, the Trojans’ skipper was encouraged by the seniors’ play.

“I know Gannon wasn’t happy with his result,” said Sheppard. “But he played his best tennis of the season. He just lost to that guy[Gavin Haner] 6-1, 6-1 a few weeks ago and today he played to a tie-breaker in the second set which is a huge, huge improvement.”

As for playing his last home match for Fairfield in any sport, Courtright admitted the time has flown by while he’s had fun, but he’s not done doing work for the Trojans.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet, it went pretty fast and I want to end it on a high note by making the state tournament for tennis,” he said.

As for his days in Fairfield being numbered before he heads to the University of Iowa, Courtright has plenty of reasons to come back.

“I had a good time here. I always like outdoorsy stuff and there is a lot of that to do here, so it was a pretty good experience,” he said.

Gannon’s doubles partner, fellow senior Logan Williams, won 6-3, 6-4 in his singles match against Abott Haner in the No. 2 matchup, but is still grasping that it was his last home match.

“It’s kind of surreal and it hasn’t hit me yet,” said Williams.

The final senior, No. 3 Trojan and first-year high school tennis player Dante Cingire, hadn’t played since middle school when he went to MSE.

“It’s been a special time playing at Fairfield,” said the Pioneer turned Trojan. “I remember when I transferred from MSAE to FHS and I had to learn to adapt to the culture, coming from a private school to a public school, and I was accepted pretty well which made the transition a lot more smooth, and I’ve enjoyed every moment playing sports for the Trojans and going to school here.”

Cingire defeated his opponent 6-1, 7-6 to help Fairfield take a 5-1 lead into the doubles matches after AJ Greiner, Will Sheppard and Dylan Barras won in straight sets.

After starting the season on the junior varsity team, Barras has battled his way to a spot on the varsity roster, something he’d been working towards.

“It felt pretty good since it was my end goal for the season to make varsity,” said the sophomore.

As for keeping his spot, Barras knows it will take hard work.

“I feel like I’ve improved on my forehand a lot and my backhand has gotten better, but I’m going to play over the summer and find someway to improve.”

Coach Sheppard is also happy to see the underclassmen finding success.

“I’m very impressed with the freshman and sophomore classes,” said the Trojan skipper. “The freshman group didn’t play any varsity this year, but I’ve seen big growth from them over the last two months and I’m hoping they put in some offseason work because that’s what it takes to be a good tennis player. If they get out and do some work, we’ll stand to do well next year.”



Cingire and Greiner won 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 2 doubles match and Sheppard and Barras combined for a 6-0, 6-2 victory in the No. 3 slot.

Next up for the Trojans is the Southeast Conference tournament Monday morning at Fort Madison.

“I really feel like we’re going to be competitive,” proclaimed Sheppard. “This whole conference is pretty closely contested. We split with Fort Madison and Mt. Pleasant and swept Keokuk. It’s going to be interesting, because there isn’t a dominant team that everybody knows is going to walk away with everything. It can come down to how much rest a guy gets and how much energy he brings to the match Monday.”

What will it take for Fairfield to come out on top?

“I’m looking for players to have the confidence to play the game that I know they can,” said the longtime coach. “When you get into these championship matches, people tend to tighten up, I can personally speak to that problem, so I know what it’s like.

I’m trying to encourage the guys to open up their game and without being unreasonable, playing right there at their peak level. We’ll see how that plays out.”

Win or lose, the Trojan seniors will never forget Fairfield.

“It’s A small town with many cultures and a lot of diversity,” described Cingire.

“It’s a diverse and unique place to live and I enjoyed it,” added Williams.

“It’s somewhere you can work hard, achieve your goals and do what’s right,” concluded Courtright, the Class of 2018’s Valedictorian.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.