Revere sophomore ranked in state for tennis

Wagstaff+prepares+to+play.

Colton Carmichael

Wagstaff prepares to play.

Colton Carmichael, Sports Editor

As a member of the class of 2023, Merit Wagstaff is a young athlete for Revere High School. While being so young, he is a two star recruit and ranked fourteenth in the state by the Tennis Recruiting Network. He has competed against some of the best tennis athletes in the state of Ohio.

Last year, Wagstaff prepared himself to have a strong freshman campaign. He traveled across the midwest to tennis tournaments to lay the groundwork for a successful Varsity season. Revere’s tennis practices were weeks away when Wagstaff discovered the Ohio High School Athletic Association cancelled the season due to COVID-19. After taking a short hiatus, Wagstaff quickly got back to work.

“After we got a grip about what was going on, I started [practicing] with this coach. We would hit every day for two hours. I found other people to [practice] with too, so I think I made the best of the situation,” Wagstaff said.

Wagstaff participated in more tournaments than the previous year due to the lost season, and readied himself for a strong sophomore year season with the team, even though it would be a new experience for him as well.

“I was really excited. I was a little curious to see how the tennis season worked. I have never had a normal season, so I was really interested to see how the competitions worked,” Wagstaff said.

Wagstaff worked on his game throughout the season with Head Coach David Heideman. Heideman was chosen to be the head coach prior to the spring season. He talked about how he was impressed with Wagstaff’s abilities and personality.

“[Wagstaff is] mature, kind, a real positive teammate [and he shows] great sportsmanship. I cannot say enough good things about him. He has done a great job and has been a great leader,” Heideman said.

The bond with his teammates is important to Wagstaff. The team won a Suburban League title this season. Anthony Skitzki is a senior and practices with Wagstaff often. Their chemistry has grown throughout the season. Skitzki talked about Wagstaff and how he competes.

“We are both athletic. We connect with our interactions every day; we each get better every day since we practice with each other. It is a good way to interact,” Skitzki said.

In tennis, momentum can shift in a matter of seconds. Wagstaff mentioned he played in many matches where he was competing well, then the pacing of the match immediately changed. In those close matches, Wagstaff learned an important lesson about tennis.

“[The] main thing I have learned is that one never learns from winning. Tennis is such a dynamic sport where anything can happen. You could be winning completely, when all of a sudden the opponent plays amazing. It is all about [one’s] attitude.” Wagstaff said.

As the season finished, Wagstaff worked his way to the district tournament as a sophomore. He also finished with a record of 11-2 and was one match away from the state tournament. Coach Heideman is excited for Wagstaff’s future.

“We have only seen the beginning of great things. As a tenth grader to show the sort of skill level and maturity and confidence that are all the things needed to be successful. I think great things are on the way for Merit Wagstaff,” Heideman said.

Wagstaff developed into a vital piece of Revere’s 13-1 tennis team. Wagstaff is currently a two star recruit and a co-captain for the sport. Skitzki talked about Wagstaff and how he plays.

“Every match he comes ready and prepared. He always does what we intend for him to do: win,” Skitzki said.

Although success is Wagstaff’s goal, there is something about the sport that means more to him, the team. Spending hours with each other, the team went through everything together. Wagstaff talked about his relationship between the team.

“I love our team very much. The thing that surprises me the most is how we can handle anything that comes our way. [Also] the guys are hilarious,” Wagstaff said.

Wagstaff’s season finished at the district tournament. He is now spending his time practicing and conditioning for next season.