HYDE PARK – Summit Country Day’s Calvin Spanbauer is happy.
He’s happy to be playing with teammates like Jared Hochwalt. He’s happy with the way the team’s season is going.
But, what he might be most happy with is to be out of his own head.
“Like most good players, Calvin tends to over analyze things,” Summit coach Jeff Carle said after the April 16 match with Seven Hills. “Today, he’s smiling and not just because he won.
“That’s the most I’ve seen him smile all season.”
Carle said Spanbauer played his best match of the season against the Stingers. The coach was particularly pleased with his footwork, shot selection and relaxed demeanor.
Calvin said there’s always tweaks and improvements to be made, but the biggest thing he’s worked on from last season to now is that game between his ears.
“I’ve been working a lot on my mental game, coming out confident and keeping my game on the court,” Spanbauer said.
The method appears to be working as his coach said he is becoming a smarter player and is approaching matches more intelligently.
Both Carle and Spanbauer are hoping this new way of competing will serve Calvin throughout the regular and into the tournament.
He made it to the second round of districts last season before bowing out. This year, he wants to get at least that far.
“Hopefully, I can make it to state,” Spanbauer said.
His path to make it that far isn’t easy.
Normally, it starts with sectionals and going against local heavyweights like Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Indian Hill and Cincinnati Country Day.
With CCD in the mix, Spanbauer could face two-time defending state champion Asher Hirsch or his teammate JJ Wolf, who was state runner-up last season.
The Braves’ tennis players aren’t slouches either.
However, Spanbauer won’t have to worry about them until later in the tournament should he get there.
This year, those teams are in the other sectional, setting up what could be a nice start to the postseason for Calvin.
“You never know what’s going to happen, but it (not having those teams) certainly opens doors,” Carle said. “Calvin’s very capable of making a state run; it’s just a matter of executing.”