By Brett Barnes
On Friday, May 31 three Milton-Union tennis players will head to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the Ohio state tennis tournament. For one, this is a fulfillment of a dream that he has worked for his entire life. A lifetime of tennis has landed him on the path to Columbus. For the other two, it has been a journey of friendship and commitment to each other that has put them on the same path.
Sophomore Matt Brumbaugh is Milton-Union’s #1 Singles player. He was raised in a tennis family. His father Steve Brumbaugh competed at Cedarville College in the late 80’s and coached collegiately at the University of Dayton. At an early age, Matt had a racquet in hand and began to hone his craft. “Steve has been teaching Matt since he was old enough to pick up a racquet, but not intensely until he hit later elementary school after he played his first tournament and decided he liked it & wanted to get better,” his mother Jennifer Brumbaugh stated recently. “We could tell he had a knack for it early on due to good hand/eye coordination, but Steve didn’t want to push him until he was ready to decide he wanted to do it.”
But will he be better than dad? “Probably the thing that has helped him succeed the most is his intense competitive nature and mental toughness under pressure. That last quality is what Steve thinks will take him farther than (Steve) was able to in the sport, should he decide to really commit to pursuing it in college.”
College will be here soon enough, but for now Matt has an opportunity to be a state champion.
Both Jack Blevins and Kenton Dickison had taken tennis lessons from legendary coach Sharon Paul, but neither dreamed of playing in a state tournament until they found each other. “They both had really good single seasons this year, and had decided at the beginning of this season that they were going to play doubles together at the sectional tournament. They talked at the beginning of the season about making it to state this year,” Coach Roger Davidson stated.
Their heart and attitude can be seen when they talk about playing together. Blevins on Dickison, “He is one of the best partners I could have asked for. He helps keep me level-headed in a match and fits perfectly with how I play. The shortcomings I have in my game are what are his strong suites are.” Dickison couldn’t agree more, “Playing with Jack is great, I think we complement each other and, more importantly, we have fun. We try to keep our goals in mind and take every point seriously. One of the only reasons I think we are ‘decent’ is we are always staying positive and having fun.”
Not only are all three “decent”, more importantly, they are positive role models “These three are great kids outside of tennis also. They have represented the Village of West Milton, Milton-Union schools, and their families everywhere we have went this year. I cannot be happier for them or more proud of their accomplishments this year,” Davidson gushed.
Matt, Jack, and Kenton…. Welcome to Columbus!