Jun. 28—Winthrop/Maranacook boys tennis coach Kelsey Ouellette describes Josh Deanda-Whaley as a player who always keeps his head in the game.
Boys Tennis Finalists
* , senior, Mt. Blue
* , senior, Mt. Blue
* , sophomore, Edward Little
* , senior, Dirigo
* , senior, Winthrop/Maranacook
Deanda-Whaley's focus on the court explains why the Ramblers went undefeated during the regular season and he qualified for the singles championship — and he is now the recipient of the Sun Journal's All-Region Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
"I am surprised because it is such an honor," he said. "This was my first time getting into the Round of 52. I was just doing it to have fun, to get out there and maybe make a name for Winthrop.
"Getting a chance to go out there and play my favorite sport was definitely part of it. That made it very special and obviously having a team ... — and we went from not knowing if we were going to have a team to another great, successful season. ...
"What I think the best part of all of it is now we have some kids on our team who will be the future of the program. I just want to thank the team because we wouldn't have had a season without them. It is really all on them."
But there were a few anxious moments when Winthrop almost didn't field a team.
"We were still up in the air whether we would have a team — or not — in the beginning," Deanda-Whaley said. "We heard of people maybe interested (in joining) and we were trying to get them to sign up. But we had a great turnout, overall. We had 12 kids on our team, which is way more than seven. So we were happy for that."
Ouellette said Deanda-Whaley's concentration and dedication to the team helped give the Ramblers the edge in the MVC and undefeated regular season.
"He is always thinking about what his next move is," Ouellette said. "But he is always very skilled. He has worked a lot on his tennis. I think he is really deserving of the (Player of the Year).
"He was one of our captains this year. He really stepped up in his captain role — and even before he was named captain.
"He is always helping his teammates and he always has a positive attitude. He is always like super encouraging to his teammates."
Deanda-Whaley is bound for Boston College this fall. He will study elementary education.
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