For the second straight season, Argyle junior Matt Hynek trudged through stop-and-start rain delays in the first match of the Class 4A state tournament at the Mitchell Tennis Center and Omar Smith Instructional Tennis Courts at Texas A&M in College Station.
He battled a string of errors and sweated through fatigue, but this time around Hynek was able to pull out a victory before falling in the second round, earning him a tie for third place and a bronze medal.
"We had two rain delays that were like 10 to 15 minutes," Hynek said. "The thing about that is it got really, really humid after and that made the match harder. We were sweating a lot and I was more tired. It affected my gameplay and forced me into mistakes, but I wanted it more than my opponent and that was my motivation, and I pulled through in the end."
Hynek defeated Joseph Diaz of Fort Stockton 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. After coming up short with a loss in the first round last season, Thursday was especially satisfying.
"After the last state tourney, my goal was to win at least one round," Hynek said. "It wasn't easy, but I achieved it. Going into the semifinal match, I knew I was going against a tough opponent. I was just having a good time."
Taking the District 9-4A and Region II singles titles, Hynek had his most productive season. Coach Tobi Jordan said she was proud of how he motivated his team and competed his way through a tougher schedule.
"He did a great job leading his team as a captain, and when we started back up in the spring we were able to get him the toughest competition," Jordan said. "Matt didn't medal in as many tourneys as he'd like, but I think it's what really helped him prepare for the tournament. He's very talented, and our main goal was to get him as much experience against good players."
Hynek finished his junior season with a 6-1, 6-2 loss to Robinson's Noah Windgate.
With one more season to go, the state gold medal is his goal next time around.
"He struggled with his conditioning last year and he kind of beat himself," Jordan said. "That kind of disappointed him last year, and that's really motivated him. His tennis game was there and this year we made sure that wouldn't be a problem. The first match was riddled by errors. The second match he was a different person and he played much better. I couldn't be more proud of him."
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.