Freshmen get spots on varsity tennis


Tommy Welham.

Conor Bellone, Staff Writer

Tommy Welham and Oliver Davey aren’t just new to the halls of the WA, but new to the tennis courts of the boys’ varsity team. However, the work it takes to get onto a varsity team in freshman year doesn’t happen overnight, but through years of practice and preparation. Oliver Davey was inspired to take up the sport by watching professionals play.

”Well I saw [tennis] on TV one time and I thought I might like to play. Then I started playing from there,” Davey said.

Davey’s interest soon developed into a passion. He began by playing at a swim club and then moved on to All Seasons Tennis Academy. In middle school, Davey played for junior teams in the United States Tennis Association, (USTA) where his team won matches on a regional scale. His passion for the sport lives on to this day.

“Yeah, I love the game, it’s really fun. It’s competitive,; it’s only you out there so it’s a nice feeling when you win because you know it was all you,” Davey said.

Like Davey, Welham too enjoys the individuality of the sport, but for a bit of a different reason. Welham’s first experiences with it were when he was around five, but his first real interest was soccer.“[Later] I [became] less interested in soccer, so [I] moved to tennis,” said Welham.

Finding soccer players to be too overbearing, he moved on to spending his time on the tennis court instead of the soccer field. This switch happened about four years ago, and he has been playing about twice a week since then.

“[… ]I guess it’s a little bit natural ability, but you’ve got to work on it,” Welham said.     

Their passions serve them well on the varsity team. With no seniors, the rest of the team is made up of juniors and sophomores. Just because they are underclassmen, it does not mean they can’t play. Coach Peter Paltsios first pointed the pair out, at the team’s first match this season.

”We have some really good underclassmen, so I’m thinking it’s gonna be pretty good for us this year. We got a couple of really good freshmen… Oliver Davey [and] Tommy Welham,” Paltsois said.

Davey and Welham see the skill in each other as well. Davey referred to Welham as a “good player” who he practices with. Welham returned the compliment, saying also that he’s “probably a little bit better than me.”

Whether playing singles or practicing in pairs, they’re all a part of one team. Davey sees the difference between life on the varsity team, compared to his days in the junior league.

”It’s a team setting which is a lot different… it can get nerve racking at times when it’s an important match,” Davey said.

But the skills they’ve learned on the court have also helped them in the classroom. The boys note how the teacher and the coach have a similar goal in mind.

“In school [or in sports] you have to make sure you’re paying attention to what your coaches or your teachers say to better you in, either your sport or just your knowledge about the subject.”

In both athletics and academics, these two have plans for the future. Davey wants to continue his tennis career, possibly even into college, along with pursuing his interest in golf.

Welham, too, enjoys tennis but thinks he may want to go back to soccer in senior year and may do tennis in college “just for fun,” ideally at Notre Dame or Tufts, which he has his eye on with the hope of a future career in medicine.

But before they begin looking at colleges, they have the current varsity team to worry about. Welham seems hopeful not only for this season but for the next.

”I’d say we’re doing pretty well, especially next year we’re gonna do good, ’cause we’re not losing anyone, and we might gain a couple kids. So I’d say we’re gonna be pretty good next year,” Welham said.