By Brandon Judeh
Canfield’s boys team has been nothing short of dominant over the years.
Wednesday evening was no different as they claimed another All-American Conference American Division outright title by defeating Poland, 4-1, at Canfield High School.
“It’s always a great accomplishment to be known as the best team in the area,” said Nick Debiec. “We have been the best for the past few years. It’s a very good feeling.”
The senior, who is the No. 2 singles player for Canfield, lead the way for the Cardinals as he won his match 6-0, 6-0.
Having a rich, winning tradition often brings plenty of pressure, Debiec says this is the case at Canfield, but the players themselves bring on the pressure.
“We always make sure we practice hard day in and day out in order to keep the tradition alive,” Debiec said.
Senior Ryan Yankush has now been a part of four AAC crowns and he says the title is back where it belongs.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself today, Poland switched their lineup up a bit today so I had a big matchup that I knew I needed to win, and I did,” Yankush said.
Both Debiec and Yankush agree that they would love to make a trip to Columbus at the end of the season.
“We came so close last year,” Debiec said. “We feel more confident this year and feel that we are a better team overall. We hope that this is the year we make it to Columbus. We just need to keep working hard.”
Though the Bulldogs fell to 9-5 on the season, junior Garrett Gardner is having an unbelievable season.
He is now 13-0, after a 6-0, 6-1 win, and seems destined for a deep run in the state tournament.
“It’s a great thing to be undefeated this year — it’s one of my goals throughout every high school season,” Gardner said. “Things are very competitive this year so it makes it even more special, I feel it has been a great influence on my teammates and family as well.”
Gardner’s game can be described as cool, calm and collected, as he moves gracefully around the court with ease. Gardner says that though his game looks relaxed, he truly gets hyped up for his matches.
“It really depends on the match,” he said. “My nerves were up a little bit today with the big match against Canfield. It takes years and years of practice and matches to get use to the nerves and learn how to push through them.”
His teammate, Ryan Calcagni, feels that, though his team is young, they will be ready to play once the sectional tournament starts.
“There is still work to be done, but I feel that we will be ready for the tournament because we have come a long way since the beginning of the season and I’m very impressed with what we have done and what we can still do,” said Calcagni.