WLC skips tennis match

Wilton-Lyndeborough High School athletic director Brice Miller had a clear message for the Warriors boys tennis team’s senior members at a meeting on Friday:

Don’t miss school on Tuesday due to “Senior Skip Day,” or your team’s chances of winning a possible Division III quarterfinal match may be in severe jeopardy because you won’t be allowed to play.

Evidently they didn’t take him seriously. Six seniors – three of them regulars on the ladder – weren’t allowed to accompany the sixth-seeded Warriors to their match at No. 3 Kingswood Regional in Wolfeboro after they didn’t attend school on Tuesday, leaving the team with just four players.

The Warriors had to forfeit three matches – two singles matches and one doubles – so they were down 3-0 before the match began and predictably wound up losing 9-0.

“Obviously, I wasn’t happy about it,” Miller said. “I had gotten word that today (Tuesday) was going to be the day and met with them on Friday and told them what might happen if they weren’t in school.”

Miller said the players asked him to inquire about the possibility of changing the date of the match, but Miller told them “absolutely not.” He also said he thought about simply forfeiting the match, but “that wouldn’t be fair to the kids who worked hard to get us in this position in the first place.”

The Warriors were without No. 1 and 2 singles players Connor Holt and James Edmunds, and No. 5 singles player John Lemire. Other seniors who weren’t allowed to play because they missed school were Mark Thibault, Mark Davidson and Isaiah Ray.

The absence of three ladder regulars meant other players had to move up to their spots and face tougher individual competition.

The four players who competed for the Warriors on Tuesday were junior Ryan Christino, who usually competes at No. 3; junior Skye Williams, normally No. 4 on the ladder; freshman Kyle Gilmore and sophomore Matt Shinn, usually at No. 6.

Warriors coach John Williams could not be reached for comment.

“We had kids who weren’t even on the ladder, who were thrown into it,” Miller said. “Kingswood (now 13-2) is a tough team, so I expected it would be a tough match anyway.”

Despite Miller’s Friday meeting, the athletic director is wondering if perhaps the seniors didn’t think the Warriors would make the tournament, but the pairings that came out Monday had them seeded sixth. He also figures the players were gambling on an assist from Mother Nature.

“I think they thought it might rain,” Miller said, “and the match would get postponed.”

He added this has never been an issue before.

“No, in the past, usually they would be smarter with the day,” he said of senior athletes. “I just think they wanted the four-day weekend.”