The end wasn't exactly how Tony Moore envisioned it before his senior season at Hamilton began earlier this year. But one of the greatest — if not the greatest — boys tennis players in school history went out a winner, even if it was one event short of the ultimate goal.
At the WIAA Division 1 Oconomowoc sectional on May 25, Moore's career at HHS concluded with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Arrowhead's Josh Strecher. Moore tore cartilage in his right hand in the first match of the season and defaulted after the injury became too much. The senior returned to try doubles competition, but just recently decided to play at No. 4 singles with his left hand.
'I didn't play for a while to let it rest,' Moore said. 'I thought I'd be back for (subsectionals), but when I realized I wasn't going to be, I thought, 'Why not at least try and play left handed?''
The goal of returning to postseason play at the top singles spot was always a strong possibility, but two weeks ago, Moore started to think it wasn't going to happen.
'I wasn't too disappointed,' said Moore, who qualified for the state tournament in 2015 and became the first state qualifier in program history. 'I'm playing next year at La Crosse. I knew it wasn't going to be my last time playing tennis. But I was still disappointed because I expected to go pretty far at state.'
At sectionals, the top four finishers in flight one and the top finisher in flight two automatically advance to state. There were no automatic berths awarded to the third or fourth flights, where Moore was playing.
For Moore, the idea of playing with his left hand started as a joke.
'Then, I was actually playing pretty well,' Moore said. 'Last Friday was my first match at four singles, left handed, to just see if I could beat people. It went really well. It went 6-1, 6-1.'
Serving with his left, Moore just focused on getting the ball over the net. Even though the shots were slower and his shot selection was limited because of the injury, there were glimpses of the Tony Moore who qualified for state a year ago. The ability to read his opponents and predict their next move, the quickness in reaching the ball and placing it where few could get to, was all there.
At the top doubles flight, Josh Anderson and Nick Pellechia made sectionals but lost in their opening match to Sun Prairie, 6-4, 6-3. The other doubles teams of Max Stacey/Luke Walters and Andy O'Neill/Connor Rhodes also made the finals at subsectionals on May 24.
The Chargers finished in a three-way tie for second place at the subsectional.