Boys Tennis: Freshman Martin Joyce sparks Hinsdale Central to state title
Updated: May 28, 2012 6:17PM
When the championship bracket to the 97th state boys tennis tournament was completed Saturday, Hinsdale Central’s No. 2 singles player was there for the finish. It was quite a year for freshman Martin Joyce.
“I think it was a great season,” said Joyce, a Hinsdale resident. “I got a chance to play all the top guys in the state. It was a great experience this season.”
Joyce lost only three times in the regular season and would end the year with back-to-back losses in the state tournament to finish fourth. One of those losses was his second defeat of the season to eventual state champion Jason Brown of Deerfield, 6-3, 6-1, in the state semifinals. Joyce’s first match of his career was against Brown in a season-opening dual meet April 3 at Burns Field in Hinsdale. Joyce won.
“Martin led all the way,” Hinsdale Central coach John Naisbitt said.
With all six of their players still alive in Saturday’s finals, the Devils were a run-away winner at the state meet with a school-record 50 points. Hinsdale Central won its 21st state title and claimed its fourth title in six years.
The Devils’ last state champion in 2009 scored a school-best 43 points. The state record is 56 points by New Trier in 2002. Hinsdale’s 50 points ranks fourth since state meet scoring was expanded in 1983.
“It feels really good,” Naisbitt said. “We were just trying to continue what [legendary former coach] Jay Kramer did for 50 years before I got here.”
Next year looks even brighter for the Devils, who return five state qualifiers including its newly crowned state champion doubles team of juniors Alex Hagermoser and Peter Heneghan. The team’s only graduate is Wake Forest-bound singles player Sam Bloom, who placed fifth after beating Lake Forest’s Peter Tarwid 7-6(4), 6-2 on Saturday. Bloom lost in the quarterfinals Friday to Stevenson’s Jeremy Bush. Bloom finished sixth last year.
Hinsdale Central’s No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Chase Hamilton and freshman Michael Lorenzini also placed fifth after beating Highland Park’s No. 2-seeded doubles of Zacko Brint and Danny Wynbrandt, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3. As a team, the Devils went from fifth in 2010 to first.
Joyce, who is not related to Marty “Long Ball” Joyce, a PGA instructor at White Pines Golf Course in Bensenville, ended his season with a 6-2, 7-6(3) defeat to Bush to finish fourth.
“I didn’t know my [first-year] experience would be something like this,” Joyce said. “I knew the team always had a great tradition.”
Joyce’s only losses in the regular season came against Brown, Bloom and former New Trier state singles champion Jared Hiltzik, who quit before the end of the high school season.
Joyce started the state tournament as a 3-4 seed. With Brown and runner-up Julian Childers of Marian Catholic graduating, Bush and Joyce become the favorites to battle for next year’s state singles crown. Bush, a junior, was a top eight seed at state.
The last sophomores to win state singles titles were Payton’s Evan King in 2007 and Warren’s Dennis Nevolo in 2006. A freshman has not won the state singles title since Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin’s Danny McCain in 1995.
“[Joyce] was enormous; just his infusion of energy, that new blood was critical to our success,” Naisbitt said.
Joyce is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 21 nationally in his class year, according to tennisrecruiting.net. The website rates Joyce as a Five-Star, Blue-Chip college recruit. He competed in the Easter Bowl, the U.S. Tennis Association’s National Spring Championships from April 8-15, and went 2-2 in the 16s division in Rancho Mirage, Calif. In the 2011 Easter Bowl, Joyce reached the semifinals in the 14s division.
Joyce won the National Open 12s singles championship in 2008 in Flushing, N.Y. and the National Open 14s singles and doubles championship in 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.