Wreckers gear up for playoffs, maintain focus on retaining state title

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Photo by Tristan Gonzalez '24

Mattie Guadarrama ’25 prepares to hit the opening serve in his match against New Canaan.

As the spring season reaches its climax, many high school sports teams hunker down as they get closer to the post season and their opportunity to claim what they have had their eyes set on since the season commenced: A state championship. While this goal is consistent for most, some teams enter the playoffs having already achieved this stardom the year prior. 

The Staples boys varsity tennis team has been met with this exact situation as they look to sustain their status this year as state champions after winning the title against Greenwich last year. Despite currently holding a 5-6 record, the team’s vision of re-claiming that championship has not been deterred as they remain optimistic and focused on their upcoming regular season matches. 

Led by Captains Alex Guadarrama ’23, Holden Dalzell ’23 and Jared Even ’24, the Wreckers see their final few games of the regular season as must-wins, although they recognize that they can’t underestimate their opponent. 

“Our next game is against St. Joseph’s and I think we should definitely beat them, but we have to stay disciplined and be composed so we can pull out the win against them and the other teams that follow,” Even said. 

While the Wreckers will likely enter the playoffs as a lower seed than they have previously been accustomed to, they refuse to let this discourage them.

“We have to stay positive in the playoffs and know that we match up well with any team,” Guadarrama said. “How you do in the regular season does not matter and last year showed that. We have the experience and quality to win this.”

This year has been riddled with setbacks, for whether it was the injuries of key players in Noah Wolff ’25 and Brett Lampert ’25, losing matches by the narrowest of margins or facing the pressure of living up to such high expectations, the Wreckers have been met with obstacle after obstacle. 

How you do in the regular season does not matter and last year showed that. We have the experience and quality to win this.”

— Alex Guadarrama '23

I think our biggest point of adversity this year has been the constant comparison to past years of Staples tennis, both by our competitors as well as by ourselves,” Lucas Ceballos ’25 said. “While it is impossible to ignore the history of this program, I believe that it is important for all of us to understand and truly believe that this season is a new chapter, and that it is in our hands to determine how it progresses and is remembered.”

These boys not only play tennis together and compete for state championships, but have also developed a strong bond that translates to the court. 

“We spend so much time together on and off the court and we all have so much trust in each other’s games,” Lampert ’25 said. “We really want to repeat [as state champions] and I feel like that desire is going to push us over the finish line and get us another one.”