Hanover boys top Bedford for Division I state title

·3 min read

Jun. 3—HOOKSETT — Alex Rockmore and Evan Yang were freshmen on the Hanover High tennis team that lost to Bedford in the Division I boys tennis final at Southern New Hampshire University in 2019.

As senior captains on Thursday, the undefeated doubles duo clinched Hanover's NHIAA Division I team title in a rematch with Bedford back at SNHU.

Rockmore and Yang defeated Bedford's Lucas Mack and Nate Gordon, 8-4, securing Hanover its fifth overall win en route to its 6-3 triumph over the Bulldogs.

The victory secured the unbeaten Bears (17-0) their 13th state championship, their first in Division I and first overall since winning the Division II crown in 2013.

Bedford (15-2) entered Thursday as the eight-time defending Division I champion, having won 11 straight titles overall. The Bulldogs won three straight Division II titles before moving up to Division I in 2013.

"To win a state championship, it's cliche — it's amazing, cloud nine but when you can win against a team that's as storied, well coached, has exceptional sportsmanship, has over a decade winning streak in the top divisions, you appreciate it a whole lot more," Hanover coach Jarrod Shaheen said, "because these kids had to go out there today and they absolutely had to earn it."

Rockmore helped Hanover win singles, 4-2, with his 9-8 (7-3) victory over Logan Mack, who won the match's first four games. Rockmore stormed back to tie the score at 5-5 and viewed it as a whole new match from there. Despite how the first four games went, Rockmore said he continued to trust his swing and felt that paid off later on.

"When I go down 4-0, there's no point in quitting," Rockmore said. "It just feels unbelievable to come back. You get one game at a time and all of a sudden the next one feels easier. You just keep fighting."

Yang said he felt pretty defeated and tired after he lost his around 90-minute No. 1 singles match to Bedford junior Lucas Mack, 9-8 (7-5), but quickly switched his focus to doubles.

"We really believe in each other and it's nice having a teammate who motivates you and picks you up," Yang said. "At no point in the match did it really feel like I was out there alone."

Fellow Hanover senior Charlie Birkmeyer was also victorious, taking his No. 4 singles match against Bedford's Abhinav Govindaraju, 8-1. Ames (8-1) and sophomore Zach Pearson (8-3) also won singles matches for Hanover. The Bears' No. 3 doubles team of Ian Holmes and Ryder Wilson beat Bedford's Ryan Juneja and Cameron Dyson, 9-8 (7-2).

Juneja and Dyson forced the tiebreaker despite losing four of the match's first five games.

"They're a great team and, having seen them for the past four years, they did exactly what they were supposed to do," Bedford coach Mike Bayer said of the Bears. "It was just tough at the end. I wish we had one more singles win."

Bedford's Nate Gordon defeated Kevin Pillsbury, 8-1, in No. 3 singles and the Bulldogs' No. 2 doubles team of Logan Mack and Richard Black won their match, 8-6, over Hanover's Ames and Pillsbury.

"I've been telling them (the players) all season — have fun," Shaheen said. "When you play the right way and have fun, there's good results."

ahall@unionleader.com

Division I boys tennis championship

At SNHU, Hooksett

Hanover 6, Bedford 3

Singles: Lucas Mack (B) def. Evan Yang, 9-8 (7-5); Alex Rockmore (H) def. Logan Mack, 9-8 (7-3); Nate Gordon (B) def. Kevin Pillsbury, 8-1; Charlie Birkmeyer (H) def. Abhinav Govindaraju, 8-1; Zach Pearson (H) def. Richard Black, 8-3' Sam Ames (H) def. Connor Ware, 8-1.

Doubles: Yang/Rockmore (H) def. Lucas Mack/Gordon, 8-4; Logan Mack/Black (B) def. Pillsbury/Ames, 8-6; Ian Holmes/Ryder Wilson (H) def. Ryan Juneja/Cameron Dyson, 9-8 (7-2).