Falcons expected an oustanding season
In what was to be his ninth and final season at the helm of the Salisbury boys tennis program, Rob Benson anticipated an outstanding season that would include strong play against Colonial League rivals and personal accomplishments for his singles and doubles team players.
Of course, none of this will happen. The season a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It sucks,” Benson said matter-of-factly. “I feel for the kids. Not only for tennis. They’re not going to have their prom, baccalaureate, or graduation. But we have to be safe.”
The 2020 Falcon season would have featured five seniors. Dylan Weber would have returned as the program’s No. 1 singles players. His 2019 season was solid and included a win the District 11 Class 2A singles tournament.
Benson estimated that Weber would have won three of every four matches.
Another trio of vying for the other two singles spots - Chris Marinos, Dylan Thompson and Jeff Seybolt - all “worked their tails off” to play their best tennis this spring.
Benson was also optimistic on the potential of first-year player Donovan Zong as a member of his doubles teams. Tanner Ruth and C.J. Ekdahl were expected to return as a doubles team, after playing as Benson’s No. 2 team last season. Returnee Caden Lagunilla along with Nico Jones, a senior, were also expected to see court time for the Falcons this spring.
The 75-year-old Benson is finished coaching the boys squad, but will stay through fall to coach his final season with the girls squad.
Benson will miss many things when he stops coaching, mostly just watching his players mature into adults right before his eyes.
“Seeing the kids grow up, that’s one of the things,” he said. “Then there are the parents. All trusted me and let me do my job.”