The name of the game is boys tennis, but that didn’t stop three Cooperstown girls from winning Section III championships in the sport this spring.
Eighth-grader Bradley Weldon and sophomore Lindsey Trosset won a Section III Class C-2 second doubles title May 20 at Utica Parkway, the same day Trosset’s older sister, senior Kate Trosset, won a section title in third singles.
The wins, combined with Weldon’s older brother, sophomore Will Weldon, winning a title at first singles, and two second place finishers, gave the Hawkeyes the Section III Class C-2 team title, the fifth section title for Cooperstown in the sport in six years.
According to Cooperstown Athletic Director Dave Bertram, it is only the second time in Section III history an all-girls team has won a boys section tennis title. And Kate is the first girl in a decade to win a singles title in Section III boys tennis, and one of only three or four overall. Typically, Class C is the only class that has girls play boys tennis, he said.
“You don’t really think about it when it is happening,” Kate said. “I think it is a really big thing once you actually look at it. Often I played against boys who were six feet tall or taller and had massive wing spans. Those things are advantages in tennis, and my body is just not built like that.”
Cooperstown does not offer girls tennis, which is a fall sport, because the school already has three fall sports for girls: soccer, swimming and diving, and cross country. In addition, Cooperstown girls are allowed to go out for the school’s football team or for field hockey at Mount Markham. The compromise has been to allow girls to play on the school’s boys tennis team, and they have been part of the spring program and its success for decades. Two years ago, then-sophomore Delaney Holohan won a section title at second doubles for Cooperstown, playing with Reed Porter.
Bertram, who coached the sport for 18 seasons at CCS before stepping down this season to become athletic director, said he always had mixed feelings about the school’s tennis trade-off, and the three Cooperstown girls agreed. Getting to or winning a state tournament is much harder, maybe impossible, although Weldon and Lindsey have years more to try. But the camaraderie on the coed team is different, the girls said, and more fun in a way.
“Having a coed team was always a positive,” Kate said. “On an all-girl team sometimes you have drama. This is just different, to be in a coed environment. Everyone is so fun. Everyone is so welcoming and supportive.”
For Kate, who will attend college at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, it has been a senior year equaled or bettered by few in Cooperstown history. In addition to the section titles in tennis, she was a captain of the girls soccer and basketball teams. Cooperstown also won a section title in girls basketball this year, and Kate was the MVP of the Section III Class C tournament, which finished Feb. 28 with Cooperstown beating rival Little Falls in Syracuse’s Carrier Dome. She was named to the Class C All-State fourth team by the New York State Sportswriters Association in girls basketball last month.
However, having this tennis accomplishment at the same time as her sister, and helping the younger girls in the program, on and off the court, seems to have meant as much to her as her own success.
“It’s been so awesome being on a team with my sister,” she said. “And Bradley is so sweet and funny. It’s been so easy to cheer her on.”
The duo had played only five matches together during the regular season, and didn’t qualify for the tournament until the last match, earning them a spot in a play-in game. Two days after winning the section title, they went back to Utica Parkway for the state qualifier, and won their first match before being eliminated in the second round.
“They had the toughest schedule all day by starting with a play-in match,” Kate said. “They were the eighth seed, and had played the fewest matches together out of the entire team ... so the fact that they were able to win is truly amazing.”
Weldon and Lindsey said they were able to learn quickly how to compliment one another.
“She likes to play up at the net, and I like to drop back,” Weldon said.
“We kind of learned along the way,” Lindsey said. “For the first couple of matches, I served first and we tended to lose those matches. Then when Bradley started serving first, we won all our matches. So now it gives us confidence if we start with Bradley serving.”
All three of the girls said they learned to love tennis because their families have long histories with the game. Weldon’s mom, Jeanette, is an official with the Cooperstown Tennis program, which gives summer lessons and does youth outreach, and her brothers have all had success at the sport.
“I think I started playing when I was three or four,” she said.
Tennis is a family game for the Trossets, too, starting with their mom, Sally.
“She was a really good tennis player when she was our age,” Kate said. “My mom has always encouraged Lindsey and I to play tennis, because it is a lifelong game.”
Kate said she won’t play sports for Elon, but she plans to join an intramural tennis league. And next spring, she will be monitoring the results back home.
With Weldon having four more varsity seasons and Lindsey having two more, many people in the program have expressed excitement about what more the Cooperstown girls can accomplish in boys tennis. It isn’t certain they will continue to team, but it does seem likely both will continue to win.
“I think, because it is boys tennis, you have to look at it as each level higher you go is a big victory,” Lindsey said.
“Whatever the decision (the coaches make) would be fine,” Weldon said, “but I think Lindsey and I work well together. I think after winning a section title, we want to do it again. We want to go further.”