BOONE COUNTY – Ryle senior Drake Hudak and David Geis lead the group of Boone County tennis players going to the KHSAA state tournament this week in Lexington May 14-16.
Hudak, the youngest of three brothers, began his love for the game of tennis when his grandparents shared their love, taking him to the court. He continued to hit and play with family until he joined the Raiders in his sixth-grade year.
His overall high school record is 69-26, with 46 of those wins in varsity play. He and Geis were paired together at first for a couple of matches in his seventh-grade season. They experienced victories in both. They were again paired together in 2012 to build the duo that they are today.
“It takes a special type of person to be a successful doubles partner in tennis,” head coach Amy Bates said. “The game requires strategy and proper tactics as well as a supportive and encouraging personality. Drake has matured into a fine doubles partner. During the 2013 season, he made his first win in postseason play. This inspired him to work harder and set goals for the future.”
Last year, Hudak and Geis advanced to the second round at state and faced the eventual semifinalists from Trinity.
Hudak also has played USTA tennis and will study mechanical engineering at Thomas More.
Geis was named the Ninth Region Sportsmanship winner.
Tennis has always been a part of his life, as he began playing with his father and grandfather at age 3. Geis joined the Raiders in 2010, where he played two matches with Hudak and they won both.
With an empty doubles position in 2011, the Raiders needed strong tennis skills and athleticism, Geis was a natural fit. During his eighth-grade year he was partnered with another left-handed player, Alex Arnett, as the varsity second doubles team. They went on to a 15-3 season.
As a freshman, Bates again thought of the dynamics of the two players she had seen in 2010 and put David back together with Hudak. Geis completed the season with a record of 11-2, while being out for an injury.
During the 2013 season, they were paired together as doubles partners and finished the season 13-4 with a regional match win under their accomplishments.
Last season, the pair finished 18-2 with a regional placing and a win at state. This season they currently stand at 12-4 for an overall Varsity record of 69-15.
“Through each season David has grown as a young man and as a player,” Bates said. “He has always exhibited a positive attitude and a respect for the gentleman’s game of tennis. His conduct on and off the court are examples of what a true athlete should exhibit.”
Geis also plays USTA tennis as well as a fill-in in an adult league at Five Seasons. He is planning to study Computer Information Systems at Thomas More.
Ryle was regional runner-up and earned a team trophy. Geis, Hudak and fellow seniors Alan Groathouse, Andrew Howe, Corey James, Nicholas Jones, Davis Mitchell, Brian Plowdrey, Phillip Spiritoso and Alex Warner have been key to the team’s success, the coach said, because they want to play every day.
Conner doubles team of Nate Eberhard and Nick Elleman was regional semifinalists and will advance to state. They lost to Covington Catholic in a 10-point super tiebreaker in the semis. Scores were 7-5, 6-7 (5-7) 1-0 (10-6). It is the second straight year the Cougars have advanced a doubles team to state.
St. Henry’s Audrey North will play in the girls singles state tournament for the second straight season. Ryle junior Carley Lucas will join her after both fell in the regional semifinals. It is Lucas’ first trip to state. Her cousin Maddie Lucas was a two-time qualifier for the Raiders.
Follow James Weber on Twitter, @JWeberSports