Trent McFarland and Reese Nguyen smiled as they left the court after trying something new in search of postseason success.
The seniors, who alternated at first and second singles throughout the season for the Westerville North High School boys tennis team, played doubles May 2 against Dublin Scioto's Kunal Arya and Jasmohan Bawa. McFarland and Nguyen won 6-2, 6-2 as they worked to gain experience together before a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, May 10, and Saturday, May 12, at Reynoldsburg.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles qualify for district May 17 at Hilliard Bradley and May 19 at Upper Arlington.
"Both Reese and I have switched off at (Nos.) 1 and 2 (singles) and we thought the best way to make it to district would be to team up in doubles," McFarland said. "We won pretty handily in (the Warriors' 4-1 loss to Scioto). I (have) played a decent amount of both doubles and singles, so the transition is natural for me."
McFarland started playing tennis as a freshman, climbing up through the doubles courts before moving to singles this spring. He prepared for the change throughout the fall and winter.
"I played singles pretty much the whole offseason, and it has a whole different feel," he said. "It's just you versus him, and there's nobody else out there. It's all on you, and you have to be able to adjust without someone being there to help you."
Nguyen, a longtime singles player, wanted to see how he would fare in doubles. He said his game has some holes that a player like McFarland could help fill.
"Doubles is a lot more fun because (ball) placement is a lot easier, and I don't overcompensate," said Nguyen, who has played tennis for nine years. "Trent helps to compensate for my weaknesses. Sometimes I don't have the best forehand and he picks that up."
At sectional, McFarland and Nguyen play Olentangy's Jay Donthireddy and Tucker Strawser in the first round. The winner plays third-seeded Colin Jordan and Daniel Shtein of Gahanna.
"It was their decision to play together and it's fun to watch that because they work well together," said coach Uy Nguyen, who is Reese's father. "Trent can handle a lot of player styles and always is looking for a chance to attack, which shows confidence in his skill set. Reese had been playing solidly and I couldn't ask for more than how he has been playing."
Reese Nguyen said the two players complement one another on the court.
"Trent helps me when I start to be timid with my shots; he'll get me to be more aggressive," Nguyen said. "He also helps with the mental part of the game. I like how much the mental aspect comes into play in tennis. They may be better than you physically, but only you can win the mental game. I like that."
McFarland gets fired up on the court, so he likes that his playing partner helps him to stay even-keeled.
"Reese is a calm guy and he helps to calm me down," said McFarland, whose team was 3-9 before playing Newark on May 8. "The mental aspects can be tough. If there's a bad line call or you miss a couple shots in row, you have to be able to respond. You can't let your temper get the best of you."
Track teams prep for league, district
The boys and girls track and field teams compete in the OCC-Buckeye meet Thursday, May 10, and Saturday, May 12, at Olentangy Orange.
The Warriors then compete in the Division I, district 1 meet Tuesday, May 15, May 17 and May 19 at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North.
North competed in the Rod Russell Invitational on May 4 at Mason, with the boys finishing ninth (24) of 28 teams behind champion Gahanna (107).
Jeremiah Burton was fourth in the shot put (48 feet, 2 inches), Ryan Cooper was fourth in the 400 meters (51.48 seconds) and Julian Slate was fourth in the 300 hurdles (41.43). Cooper, Carter Hudnell, Brian Nganga and Dorian Reynolds were fourth in the 1,600 relay (3:32.68).
Jaiden Stokes was fourth in the 100 (12.94), 200 (26.53) and 400 (1:00.26) to lead the girls, who finished 10th (26) of 25 teams behind champion Mason (110).
Baseball team defeats Falcons
The baseball team defeated 47th-seeded Franklin Heights 11-0 in five innings May 7 at home to open the Division I district tournament.
Mason Lowder tossed a one-hitter for the 31st-seeded Warriors, who improved to 10-17 overall.
North played at top-seeded Olentangy Liberty on May 9, with that winner advancing to a district semifinal Tuesday, May 15, at a neutral site to be determined against 23rd-seeded Orange or 35th-seeded Central Crossing.
The Warriors were swept by Orange 4-3 on April 20, 9-0 on April 26 and 7-1 on May 4 in OCC-Buckeye play. They defeated Central Crossing 7-5 on April 21.
The district final is May 17 at a neutral site to be determined.
Softball team edges Wolves in tourney
The softball team defeated 33rd-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 2-1 on May 7 at home in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Katie Palmer threw a four-hitter for the 27th-seeded Warriors, who improved to 13-12 overall. They were 3-6 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Olentangy on Thursday, May 10.
The Warriors played at 11th-seeded Watkins Memorial on May 9, with that winner advancing to a district semifinal Monday, May 14, at a neutral site to be determined against eighth-seeded Darby or 16th-seeded Pickerington Central.
The district final is May 18 or 19 at Pickerington Central.
Below are the coming schedules for the North boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse and boys volleyball teams:
May 11 -- Home vs. Beavercreek
May 15 -- At eighth-seeded Thomas Worthington in second round of Division I, Region 3 tournament. Winner plays second-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, 14th-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 17th-seeded Kettering Fairmont in quarterfinal May 18. The Warriors are seeded ninth.
May 11 -- At Pickerington North
May 15 -- Home vs. 14th-seeded Westerville South in first round of Division I, Region 1 tournament. Winner plays top-seeded New Albany in second round May 18. The Warriors are seeded ninth.
May 10 -- At New Albany
May 12 -- At Pickerington North
May 15 -- OCC Challenge at Hilliard Darby