Sophomore Harry Wang is prepared to help his team make a Patriot League title run as the Mountain Hawks are 10-7 and have two matches left to play in the regular season before the Patriot League Tournament.
Wang has developed into an essential player in the Mountain Hawks’ lineup, securing the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles positions
Couch Wouter Hendrix said Wang is a pleasure to be around and also to coach.
“Harry is an exceptional athlete,” Hendrix said. “One of the many things that make him exceptional is his athleticism. He’s very fast, has great endurance, just a very talented ball striker. He hits the ball hard. He plays very free-spirited tennis. He’s an amazing kid.”
He said Wang works his tail off every day and takes nothing for granted.
Wang attributes much of his success on the court to his pre-match routine. He relies on regular sleep, a healthy diet and a consistent stretching regiment.
“One of the bigger things I’ve done this year to prepare for matches is to start the night before,” Wang said. “I have to make sure I’m mentally and physically prepared before my matches.”
Wang said he had injuries last season because he did not take proper care of himself. Now, every night before a match Wang rolls out his shoulders and back to make sure the muscles are loose.
Tennis players must be adept at handling the moment due largely to the fast-paced nature of the sport. Staying calm and maintaining consistency are skill sets of their own when it comes to playing tennis, just like executing a forehand or backhand swing. Beyond the fundamentals, much of Wang’s game depends on handling high pressure moments.
“He’s very analytical, but he knows when he has to trust himself,” said senior teammate Bryant Born. “He’s very good at not letting the big pressure moments be bigger than they actually are.”
In fact, Wang said he believed dealing with pressure is one of his strengths.
“On the court, I think my biggest strength is I kind of enjoy the pressure situations,” Wang said. “Both on and off the court, I try not to take myself too seriously. I try to make sure I have a good time and enjoy what I do.”
Wang said he circumvents his nerves before tight matches by taking them second by second and focusing on the task at hand.
“He’s very good at putting his best effort into making every shot and having a purpose for every drill that he does,” Born said. “Harry’s very self-aware with everything he does.”
With two matches remaining in the season, Wang and the team have their eyes set on the Patriot League Tournament.
The remaining matches are against Patriot League opponents, rival Lafayette and Bucknell. Next weekend, the Mountain Hawks will play Lafayette on senior day at the Ulrich Tennis Complex.
“We are trying to get a high seeding for the Patriot League tournament, which is our ultimate goal,” Wang said.
Born said it is good to have Wang at the top because the team can trust him with winning the match.
“It’s nice to have someone at the top of your lineup who can beat anyone on any given day,” Born said. “He can electrify a match by the way he plays. He hits some incredible shots sometimes and it gets everyone going because he plays some high-level tennis.”
With the tournament coming up, Wang builds with every practice and match.
“He’s a critical factor for us, obviously, just because he plays No. 1 singles and No.1 doubles, so a lot of our success will hinge on his performance,” Hendrix said. “I know he’s always going to bring it.”
The first round of the Patriot League Tournament will take place on Thursday, April 18 in West Point, New York.