As Nate Bohon clenched his fist in the air, a chip fell off his shoulder.
Bohon ended his junior season last year with a loss to Helias’ Andy LeRoy at the Class 2 District 5 meet. The loss bothered Bohon during the offseason, but he got his chance for revenge in Hickman’s first match Monday against the visiting Crusaders.
The Kewpies defeated the rival Crusaders 9-0. Hickman didn’t drop a set in its six singles matches or in the three doubles matches.
The most competitive match came at No. 1 singles where Bohon struggled early against LeRoy, but came back to win 7-5, 6-4. Last season’s defeat was in Bohon’s thoughts.
“It was definitely in my mind coming in to today,” Bohon said. “I knew I just had to play my game and not let that experience get to me.”
After the match LeRoy said he lacked the intensity he needed to win.
“He played well and he outplayed me today,” LeRoy said. “There is a lot of excitement when you’re at districts, and I think I lacked that today.”
Jeff Moore, Hickman’s fifth-year coach, said he was aware of the history between the two players and pleased with Bohon’s poise so early in the season.
“I think it will do a lot for his confidence,” Moore said. “They played a nice close set where emotions were running. I thought he handled himself well and bounced back. Anytime your No. 1 can beat another No. 1 it’s usually very competitive and usually a pretty big win.”
Helias (1-8) and Hickman (1-0) come into this season with a lot of inexperience. Both teams had two returning varsity members.
Along with Nate Bohon, Omeed Latifi returns for the Kewpies in the No. 2 singles spot. Latifi won 6-2, 6-1 against Scott Schlueter.
Hickman senior Dan Saab, and sophomores Dan Fine and Justin Guevara played in their first varsity matches. They each won in straight sets.
Saab defeated Alex Tungsevik 6-1, 7-6 (7-2), Fine won 6-1, 6-1 against Joe LeRoy and Guevara won 7-5, 6-1 against Jacob Schreiker.
“We’re pretty comparable teams and I am real pleased that they have been successful,” Moore said. “It’s hard to gain a lot of confidence for these young guys in one match, but it’s a good start. We have a lot of work to do, and winning always helps, but we still have a lot of really tough teams ahead of us.”