HANOVER — Although removed from the tennis courts at New Palestine High School, Dragons alumni Brent Barrett has no intention of hanging up his racket any time soon.
Barrett, who graduated from New Palestine last year and was a member of the Dragons varsity tennis team for four seasons, was recently named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Freshman Player of the Year for the Hanover College men’s tennis team.
Playing both singles and doubles for the Panthers, Barrett compiled a 26-15 record. He is the team’s first freshman player of the year since 2011.
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While at New Palestine, Barrett collected All-Hoosier Heritage Conference honors all four seasons and was named team Most Valuable Player, as well as Honorable Mention All-State, his senior season.
Hanover finished its 2015-16 season with a 14-9 record including a 6-2 stint in the HCAC.
Barrett, who also won Hanover’s lone player of the week honor this season, caught up with the Daily Reporter to talk about his season and the transition from high school to college tennis.
Q: What was the biggest transition for you or hardest part about playing in college?
BB: The biggest transition from high school to college is definitely the level of play. In high school I could walk onto the court and win pretty easily without being pushed very hard. In college every single match is a tough match and there are no easy wins.
My teammates here at Hanover have definitely made the transition easier. Our team is very young; most of us are freshman and sophomores. We all have helped each other along the way, and I think that really helped. Also my former teammate from high school, Reid Clark (senior), has really stepped up and took all of us young guys under his wing. He made everything easier on and off the court. Any of us can ask him for anything and he will always be there for us.
Q: How did playing at New Palestine prepare you for the next level?
BB: At New Palestine, I got the chance to play some really good players and competed at a high level that helped me get a lot better. I got put under pressure situations; so I learned how to handle the pressure.
Q: Were you happy with how your first year went?
BB: My first season went very well. We three-way tied for second in the conference. I played very well this year. I played some matches at No. 1 singles and some at No. 2 singles. For conference I actually played No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles with my teammate Alec Bates.
Q: Talk about the awards you won this season and what they mean to you?
BB: Being named player of the week was pretty cool. Coach (Ryan) Miller has really pushed me to be the player I am now. Every practice has a meaning and all of us have really put forth a lot of effort. It paid off for all of us. Freshman of the year feels pretty awesome. My teammates and I worked very hard, and they pushed me every day in practice. It feels good to get rewarded like that after a lot of hard work and time that I put into tennis.
Q: What are your goals for next season?
BB: As a team we just need to keep trusting coach Miller and give him a lot of effort and we will all get better and reach our goal as a team. The obvious goal for the team is to win the conference title and go the NCAA tournament.