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Eagles' dynasty in good shape for future

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Gilford's Keaton Quigley (right) and Andrew Caulfield accept the NHIAA Division III state championship last month the fourth in five years for a program that has won 33 straight matches. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
July 28, 2014
GILFORD — For the second year in a row, and fourth time in five years, the Division III state championship resided with the Gilford High School boys' tennis team this spring.

The Golden Eagles, clearly a dynasty at this point, captured a tight win over rival Bow High School, besting the same Falcon squad they knocked off to win the 2011 and 2013 titles. It was the eighth state title overall for the boys' tennis program, as Gilford claimed championships in 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. It was the 16th overall appearance in the championship match for the Eagles.

"They worked hard all season long... played well under pressure," said GHS head coach Terry Wilson of his team, which ran the gauntlet with a 17-0 record that included three postseason wins.

The numbers from the perfect season were staggering. Junior first singles standout Andrew Caulfield didn't lose a match all year, as he mirrored the team's undefeated mark with a 17-0 record in singles action and a 14-0 record in doubles play along with partner Grant Workman.

In the number two singles slot, Bryce Workman posted an outstanding 15-2 record, and he was 10-3 in doubles play with partner Keaton Quigley. Brother Grant Workman also lost just twice in the regular season at third singles, as he was 14-2 overall.

But Gilford's strength also came from its depth, as Quigley was 15-2 at fourth singles in addition to his 10-3 doubles mark. Nolan Dwyer joined Caulfield as undefeated singles players with a 17-0 mark at number five, including a memorable comeback victory in the state championship match that propelled the Eagles to the title. Brad Bergman rounded out the lineup with a 14-3 mark at sixth singles, and he and Dwyer were 9-3 at third doubles during the season.

Wilson pointed out several matches as his most memorable from the season, with the two wins over Bow (both 5-4 victories) at the top of the list. He also recalled a hard-fought 6-3 win over Kingswood as another memorable contest.

Individually, Wilson had plenty of moments that keyed the run to the title. In the regular season match against Bow, it was the tandem of Dwyer and Bergman that cruised to an 8-0 win at third doubles to secure the final point in the 5-4 victory.

Dwyer's comeback win over Bow in the finals was also key, as he trailed 7-4 before forcing a tiebreaker where he didn't lose a single point thanks to a 7-0 whitewash.

Caulfield and Grant Workman sealed the state title at first doubles with an 8-6 win after pushing through a 5-5 tie, and it was the second tense match of the day for Workman who rallied in his singles tilt to earn an 8-6 victory.

With the recent run of success, it would appear that two straight titles, with undefeated seasons in both 2013 and 2014, will be tough to replicate. While that will certainly be true, the good news for the Eagles is that just one of the team's 16 roster players was lost to graduation (Colin Croft). Somehow, Wilson's club is slated to return the entire starting lineup, including the reliable Caulfield, who has dominated since sliding into the number one spot as a freshman in 2012.

Still, Wilson's 'take one match at a time' approach won't allow him to get too ahead of himself despite the embarrassing level of riches at his disposal yet again.

"I'm looking forward to being competitive with many players returning," was all he offered when looking ahead to next season.

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