Adam St. Pierre and his Winthrop High School teammates came within a tiebreaker of knocking off eventual state champion Waynflete in the Western Maine Class C tennis playoffs this spring.

It wasn’t St. Pierre’s best day as he got beaten in straight sets by state singles champion Patrick Ordway. But if it weren’t for St. Pierre, the Ramblers wouldn’t have been in that position in the first place.

St. Pierre returned as No. 1 singles player for his senior year, went unbeaten during the regular season and led the Ramblers to their second straight 12-0 record. For his efforts, St. Pierre has been named the Kennebec Journal Boys Tennis Player of the Year. Also considered was Hall-Dale’s Joe Shagoury.

St. Pierre and Shagoury are good friends and practiced together a couple of times a week last summer under Winthrop coach Wilbur Shardlow. During the winter they played at Champions in Waterville. St. Pierre played some of his best tennis of the season in beating Shagoury twice in straight sets in a doubleheader last month.

“His approach was much better this year, mentally,” Shardlow said. “A lot of that has to do with experience and shot selection.”

St. Pierre credits Sharlow with just about all the improvement he’s made of the past two years, and agrees the mental side of the game was where he made his greatest strides.

“I wouldn’t be player of the year without Wilbur,” he said.

The match against Ordway proved enlightening for St. Pierre.

“If anything it showed me what the next level of play is,” St. Pierre said. “He’s so good. His flat serve made mine look like a dinky thing.”

Ordway notwithstanding, St. Pierre’s offseason work paid off, especially in thinking on his own and “how you want to play people and attack weaknesses,” Shardlow said.

“When you’re playing you really don’t get coached,” Shardlow added.

On the physical side, St. Pierre improved his second serve and was much more consistent with his ground strokes.

“He’s wonderfully coachable,” Shardlow said. “He just had to work on his self confidence a little bit.”

St. Pierre will attend the New England School of Communications in Bangor next fall. Those who attend are eligible to play on athletic teams at Husson University, but unfortunately the school doesn’t offer men’s tennis. That won’t spell the end of St. Pierre’s love of the game, though.

“I’ll definitely always be playing,” he said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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