Upper Canada College’s Carr Norton ended his high school tennis career in high style on June 1 by capturing the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship.
The unseeded Norton struggled with his serve as he started off the tournament at the Mayfair Toronto East tennis club on May 30, but his will to win and superb shot-making abilities carried him to 8-5 and 8-4 victories. Norton stepped up his game on day two by getting his serve under control and won quarter-final and semi-final matches by respective 8-4 and 8-5 scores, landing him in the gold medal match against top-seeded Georg Zoidl.
Both players learned upon arrival at the University of Toronto Scarborough tennis courts that their match would be televised by Rogers, which may have made for some initial nervous moments. Norton was down early in the match and at one point his racquet slipped out of his hand and flew outside the court. The incident seemed to relax him a little and he rallied to win six out of the final seven games by executing a patient strategy and waiting for his opportunities to attack. After falling behind 5-2, Norton emerged with an impressive 8-6 comeback victory.
Unseeded Grade 11 student Keenan Conlon also represented UCC in singles at the OFSAA tournament, and his performance was almost as impressive. He fought hard and used his steady, intelligent game to outmaneuver opponents all week. His newly rejuvenated serve, precise approach shots and crisp volleys helped him upset the sixth seed in the first round and the third seed in the third round, qualifying him for the semi-finals against Zoidl.
A couple of games made the difference in a highly competitive match that Conlon lost 8-6. He bounced back in a big way in the consolation rounds, however, and cruised through his final two matches with 8-2 victories to earn the bronze medal in convincing fashion.
Grade 10 students Campbell Burgess and Campbell MacKinnon represented UCC in doubles, and it was a learning experience for the unseeded players as they finished in the top six after winning four of their six matches — including an upset over the fourth-ranked team after losing to the top seeds one round earlier.
With Conlon, Burgess and MacKinnon eligible to return next year, varsity tennis coaches Andrew MacDougall and Derek Poon should have a good base to work with next year.