Boys Tennis: Wellington graduate Trevor Ball grew to love sport
Before he became a three-time Division II state qualifier in tennis, Trevor Ball learned how to play golf.
However, it didn't take long for the 2020 Wellington graduate to figure out that bouncing around a tennis court with a racket lined up much better with his personality than leisurely swinging a club around a golf course.
"I kind of quit golf because it's slow," Ball said. "I've always been a hyper kid and wanted to be very active. I didn't start getting tennis lessons until I was 8 or 9. I was pretty good when I was young, but I didn't really fall in love with it until I got a little older and then I started thinking I could be pretty good at this."
Ball, a Westerville resident who played a key role the past two seasons as the Jaguars won back-to-back state championships in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament, was poised for a strong senior season before spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Ball, along with classmate Milan Gonela and rising senior Griffin Biernat, were expected to give Wellington a strong group of returning singles players.
Last season in the state championship team match against Youngstown Ursuline at Elysium Tennis Center, Ball won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Gonela won 6-0, 6-1 at second singles and Biernat won 6-0, 6-0 at third singles.
Earlier that weekend, Ball won his first two singles matches at the OHSAA state tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason but battled an upset stomach and lost 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 6-0 to Ursuline's Greg Morgione in a semifinal. He then withdrew from his consolation match to place fourth.
Ball lost in the first round of the state tournament as a freshman but reached the state final as a sophomore before falling to Cincinnati Indian Hill's Andrew Pregel 6-0, 6-0.
"(Losing this season) is such a bummer for Trevor," coach Tommy Haddow said. "I thought this was his year and he was obviously looking forward to his senior year. We were going to be just as strong with Milan and Griffin also returning. If you look back at (Ball's) three years, he had a great three years. Last year, he cramped up and that was disappointing, but he came back and helped us win team states.
"He worked harder than most kids. It's always about the team and about Wellington. He was at every practice. A lot of kids these days only show up for matches. He always wanted to come to practice and he was always getting the whole team involved. The people really responded to his lead. It's a bummer the way it went out, for our whole team, actually."
Gonela and 2020 graduate Ben Marshall likely would have played doubles this spring. Both have committed to Denison.
Ball could end up there as well. He's considering playing for Denison, Dayton, Wright State and Southwestern University, which is in Georgetown, Texas.
This spring, he's worked on his game with his father, Dale, who played for Edinboro, and also has hit with St. Charles rising senior Reece Yakubov.
"My dad pushes me and he played tennis in college, so he knows the game pretty well," Ball said. "He knows what I need to work on, but he's always pushing me to get better and knows what aspects of my game I need to work on.
"Tennis has been a huge part of my experience at Wellington and just looking forward to every single year, especially when we started having the success we had the last two years."