Head coach Shawna Morley, left, and assistant and Bob Luby flank the seniors on the unbeate Bedford High boys' tennis team, from left: McKinley Grimes, Dean Drukker, Alex Standard, Matt Weeks, James Delahunty. (HARRY KOSLOWSKI)
NHIAA Tennis: Bedford is championship-focused
After completing a rain-delayed match with Exeter this week, the Bulldogs are undefeated once again, owners of a 14-0 record entering the postseason, their first in Division I after winning the last three Division II (formerly Class I) titles.
The coaches cite the intense work ethic of their players. The players point to the coaches who keep them focused when so much success could make them complacent.
The Bulldogs are led by Shawna Morley, Bedford’s head coach since 2008 and before that the head coach at Manchester West, with whom she won a state title in 2005.
Morley says her players’ commitment includes extra work outside of practices, setting up their own matches against each other to work on their skills, and playing in the offseason.
“I think it’s all the kids,” he said. “They work very, very hard.”
Bedford’s senior captains, James Delahunty and McKinley Grimes, credit their coaches for keeping them focused and in control of their game.
A glance at the Bulldogs’ match-by-match results may give the impression the team has had it easy this season. Nine of its victories have been by shutout, four others by a score of 8-1. The only relatively close victory came against Londonderry, by a 6-3 score on May 10.
And that’s a good thing, the Bulldogs believe. Complacency would be a danger if winning started feeling automatic.
All six Bedford seniors will soon be off to college, where most plan to continue their tennis careers.
But graduation doesn’t necessarily end involvement in Bedford tennis. Morley says former players, including Myles Utell, often come back to help tutor players.
Several other schools are relishing the chance to put a wrench in Bedford’s pursuit of a fourth straight boys’ tennis title, and Morley, as always, is keeping the Bulldogs focused.
Needless to say, Bedford is among the five, as well.