Cony boys tennis player Dallas Clark will be the first to tell you, he didn’t see himself as a tennis player.

A standout hockey player, Clark stumbled into tennis thanks to a friend during his freshman year.

“One of my brother’s friends, he just started playing tennis,” Clark said. “He kind of forced me to play, I didn’t want to play at first. Once I started playing, I loved it and kept playing all the time.”

It was a wise decision. Clark, a recent graduate, finished his senior season by competing in the singles state tournament, defeating Zhong McClure of Erskine Academy 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in the first round, moving on to the second round before losing to Peter Higgins of Cape Elizabeth 6-0, 6-0.

For his success during the season, Clark was named the Kennebec Journal Boys Tennis Player of the Year. This is the second sport Clark has received such an honor, as he was named the Boys Hockey Player of the Year. Hall-Dale High School’s Spencer Shagoury was also considered.

Getting to the singles tournament was no easy feat for Clark. In his final qualifying match, he played in a best of three sets match against Zach Disch of Waterville.

“It went to a tie breaker both times and I won both sets, so it was really close,” Clark said.

The trip to the tournament was a first for Clark. He said his biggest goal was to not get mentally overwhelmed at the prospect of playing against the top players in the state.

“After I got past Zhong McClure, I knew I was going to play against the No. 6 player in the state, and that it was going to be tough,” Clark said. “I didn’t just topple over and I give him the match, I fought. Made a couple of good games, so he didn’t completely destroy me.”

Clark’s play exceeded the expectations of Cony coach Jeff Fowler.

“It was pretty (throughout the season) Dallas earned the No. 1 spot,” Fowler said. “He had some big wins all year. The two best teams in our conference were Bangor and Hampden. He split with both of (the team’s No. 1 players). That’s not easy to do.”

Clark said the best part of his game is when he’s around the net.

“I try to get to the net as much as I can,” Clark said. “I really like volleying, that’s probably my strongest thing in tennis is my net game.”

Fowler was happy with how receptive Clark was to coaching during his career.

“He knows how to win in hockey and he’s serious with his tennis as well,” Fowler said. “He’s serious at the right times, but he has fun, too. He’s a pleasure to coach.”

Clark will attend the University of Maine at Orono. He said he’s leaning toward a business degree, and will attempt to play club tennis while he is at school.

“I’ll play club at Orono for sure,” Clark said.

Dave Dyer — 621-5639
[email protected]

 

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