Andrew Varghese is well acquainted with visiting both ends of the high school tennis spectrum.
On the one hand, the grade 11 student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School recently captured his third straight city singles championship, cruising to a very comfortable decision over Sebastien Bouchard of Collège Notre-Dame.
Within the parameters of the local high school loop, there are very few, if any, who play with the same consistency of Varghese, throughout the winter, at the Sudbury Indoor Tennis Centre. On a local level, he is easily a notch above the rest of the field.
Come time for the NOSSA championship on Friday, and the ensuing OFSAA championships, it's a whole other matter altogether.
A grade ten athlete out of North Bay, Adrien Catahan has his sights set on possibly pursuing tennis at the post-secondary level. In fact, Catahan and Varghese tangled in the 2018 NOSSA final. "I got beat pretty bad last year," stated the local product.
It's a reality, for Varghese, that he is somewhat caught in the middle - too strong for the more infrequent players who compete at the SDSSAA playdowns, but not strong enough to provide a real serious threat to those who choose to compete in the "Open" classification come time for high school provincials.
Varghese, again this year, will be taking a shot in the grouping with those who, generally speaking, are not playing in club tournaments during the course of the year. "Tennis will be a sport for life, for me, but nothing super serious, really," said Varghese.
"I think Adrien is going for tennis as a big part of his life, maybe try and get a scholarship in the U.S., but I'm going to go to a Canadian university." Still, with the two likely to meet again in the 2019 NOSSA gold medal encounter, Varghese is cautiously optimistic.
"I would like to have a good game with him at NOSSA," he said. "We've played a lot before, he comes to Sudbury a lot to play. It's always fun playing him. I want to have a good match with him at NOSSA this year."
To that end, Varghese has some thoughts in mind. "I have to try varying my shots, the slices, the drop shots, the lobs and stuff," he said. "If I can keep him out of his rhythm, then I have a chance to give him a good game."
"Adrien is a very good baseline rallyer," added Varghese. "He will hit those huge forehands and backhands from the baseline. If you get into a long rally with him and he finds his rhythm, you are definitely going to lose the point."
"I always want to play people that are better than me. You learn a lot more from losing than winning."
Varghese was not the only Knight to shine at the 2019 city tennis tournament. In fact, it was a clean sweep for coach Richard Breault and his troops. Lauren Fearn captured the girls singles crown, defeated Brianna Fazekas, also of Lo-Ellen, while Abbas Dedanwala and Eric Dissanayake claimed the boys doubles crown, ousting Liam Williamson and Ethan Williamson of St Charles.
The girls doubles bragging rights were claimed by Ava Punkinen and Logan Waltenbury, outscoring the Horizon Aigles' tandem of Kianna Trottier and Joeke D'Attilio.
Finally, Bronwyn Mantle and Jeff Dodds closed things off in the mixed division, defeating Jacob Willmott and Tamara Bouchard, of St Charles, 10-4 in the final.