Sophomore bolsters Hickman tennis team

Thursday, April 8, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

By ALEX GIDDINGSCOLUMBIA – Bryan Page doesn't feel out of place.

He's the No. 5 singles player on the Hickman varsity tennis team, and he's only been playing tennis for a little longer than two years. Page, a sophomore, picked up the sport after watching his brother Brandon Page compete at Hickman as the top player on the team. He was inspired to try his hand, and it payed off with a spot on the varsity.

Seniors Ben Levin, Jay Chenault and Kevin Guevara fill Hickman's top singles positions and are the team's leaders. Page, on the other hand, is their understudy. During practice after he's done with his drills and mini-matches, he sits and watches the top players compete. Page says watching players more on his level helps to develop his game.

"It's nice to watch these guys," he said, "... watch how they handle different situations and plays."

Hickman beat host Helias 6-3 in its first match Monday. Page lost his singles match in a third-set tiebreaker, but he won his doubles match playing with junior William Lee. After their first competition, the team has a good outlook for the rest of the season.

"We've got the most depth of all the years I've been on the team," Guevara said.

The Kewpies' older players say they recognize how important the rest of the team is to their success.

"The five and six spots are just as important as the top three," Levin said.

Page said he is happy to be playing on varsity and is looking forward to the rest of his career at Hickman. Along with the other underclassmen on the JV squad, he said he sees great potential for the future.

"There is lots of talent that will come up from lower ranks," he said. "We will be losing three seniors this year, but there is a lot of great talent up and coming."

Hickman is set to play Rock Bridge on Thursday at Bethel Park. The Kewpies haven't beaten the Bruins since 2000.