Truckee’s Zach Haas not ready to cede title as Nevada’s best 3A high school tennis player
Truckee junior Zach Haas has spent hundreds of hours on the tennis court over the summer — working on everything from his serve to improving his endurance.
Now, as the school’s first singles state champion in its history, he leads the Wolverines into the 2017 season with one thing on his mind — winning another Nevada state championship.
Haas will enter the season a marked man as a host of competitors from Class 3A attempt to add a win against the defending Class 3A state champ to their resume — it’s a position Haas relishes.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he said of any pressure going into the year. “I like it.”
To prepare for the season, Haas said he has been laboring away during the summer months at the Tahoe Donner Tennis Center, while also competing in United State Tennis Association Northern California tournaments.
“All summer I play really competitive tournaments — USTA NorCal and a lot of events outside of high school … the competition there is much tougher. Northern California is really stacked,” Haas said.
“As far as training goes, all summer I’ve been doing twice-a-day, three-hour sessions. I’ve just been putting in a lot of hard work.”
The time Haas has spent working on his game and conditioning have him confident about his skill set as the season gets underway.
“My ability to just grind kids,” said Haas of his greatest strength. “I know a lot of kids’ fitness in long matches is a problem. I don’t have that, I train at 7,000 feet, and so my fitness is good, and my mental game is strong. Whatever the other guys bring is kind of on them. I’m ready.”
Truckee’s tennis team opened the season with a home matchup against Incline on Tuesday, Aug. 29, and moved to 1-0, winning 11 matches to Incline’s seven.
Haas would go undefeated during singles play, but uncharacteristically dropped a set to Incline senior Lucas Tong. Haas breezed through last season’s regular season without losing a set.
Truckee’s other singles players would struggle as Incline took the other six matches.
“It was good seeing the type of competition that we’ll be up against as far as the team goes,” Haas said. “(Inlcine) is one of the better teams in the league, so we are going to find out how much we need to gain. Our goal is to be undefeated, and this is arguably the second best team in the league — (Incline), South Tahoe, and us.”
The Wolverines finished second in the Northern Region last season, losing 10-8 to South Tahoe. The team then finished in fourth place at the Class 3A state championships, but a lot of returning players has Truckee eyeing a return to the state tournament.
“We only lost two seniors,” Haas said. “So a lot of these kids have been playing for two years already. We have good depth this year … this year our whole lineup is good, even our backups are better than a lot of starters on other teams.”
On the doubles side, juniors Noah Warren and Zach Larson are looking to contend for a state title after a fourth-place finish at the state tournament last year.
“We felt like we could’ve done a little bit better,” Larson said. “This year we’re really hoping to win it.”
The two will enter their second year of playing doubles together, and with both of last season’s Northern Region champions and state champions splitting up do to graduation, there is a void atop Class 3A doubles that the Truckee duo wants to fill.
“We’re definitely a lot better than last year,” Warren said. “We’re really hoping to take that title.”
The two went 3-0 against Incline players on Tuesday, and only dropped one out of 19 sets played.
Truckee doubles players, junior Jack Keith and Lucas Kraatz also won both of their matches on the day. Elliot Rost, Sawyer Laine, Deacon Mehler, Patrick Hogan, Paul Larson, Jake Harrell, Kai Watters, and Braedon Schram all picked up wins playing doubles.
The Wolverines faced league opponent Churchill County on the road on Thursday, Aug. 31 (results not available at time of press). The team will next face Sparks on Sept. 5, in a league match at home at 3 p.m.
The Truckee girls also opened their season on Tuesday, Aug. 29, with a road match against Incline.
The Lady Wolverines edged the Highlanders 10-8 for their first win of the season.
The girls reached the Northern Region championship last year, but dropped a heartbreaker to Churchill County 10-9 (9-9, 5-1). Truckee was then defeated 12-0 in the semifinals of the state tournament by eventual champion The Meadows.
The team returns last season’s Northern Region singles runner-up Rebecca Ziegler, who enters her senior year.
The girls hosted Churchill County on Thursday, Aug. 31 (results not available at time of press), and will next travel to Sparks on Sept. 5 for a 3 p.m. match against the Railroaders.