One of Joe Varckette’s goals was to win the Ashtabula County first-singles title this boys tennis season.
The recent Lakeside graduate accomplished that one, and more in being selected co-county player of the year for the 2022 season.
“I’m happy and excited I got the award,” said Varckette, who shared the award with Jefferson’s Jensen Yarosh. “Jensen is also deserving.”
Varckette and Yarosh split two regular-season matches.
Yarosh won the first meeting 7-5, 6-3 early in the season.
“Jensen is an amazing player,” Varckette said. “He’s young, and loves the sport.”
The two then matched up in the county first-singles championship match in April. Varckette won 6-4, 6-4.
“It was a mental hurdle getting over that [first loss],” he said. “I went in with the mentality to play my game. I played some of my best tennis during the tournament, and I needed to because my opponents were all great players.”
The Dragons placed second in the county tournament with 27 points, which was six after Jefferson.
“I liked leading our team to a very successful season,” Varckette said. “I wanted to keep a positive attitude.”
Varckette and Michael Paulchel were senior co-captains this season.
“Having known these two since kindergarten and it was aa pleasure to watch them grow into the people they are today,” Dragons coach Clark Hewitt said.
Varckette was a more vocal leader.
“I like to talk to the guys one-on-one and cheer for them,” he said. “I wanted the other guys to see a good example on and off the court. The guys were feeding off my energy and being positive.”
The Dragons went 15-4 overall, 6-2 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division, which tied Perry for the conference crown.
Lakeside tallied 25 points in the CVC Valley tournament with 25 points, which was three more than Perry.
Varckette finished the season at 19-7. He also won a Division I sectional tournament match, defeating Kenston’s Walker Glime 6-0, 6-1 before falling to Mentor’s Elliot Miller 7-5, 6-4 in the next round.
“That was my first win at the sectional tournament since my freshman year,” Varckette said.
Varckette said setting a good example has been a staple of the Lakeside tennis program.
“We want to be good sports and treat opponents with respect,” he said.
Varckette will keep an eye on Lakeside next season. His brother, Jack, just completed his freshman season on the Dragons tennis team.
He’s also looking forward to seeing the other players develop.
“He’s young, and has a lot of potential,” Varckette said of his brother. “They’re good guys. Matt Surbella and Ty Hamilton played well as a first-doubles team. They may move up to singles.”
Varckette is playing tennis this summer, especially with the Ashtabula County Tennis Ladder, before heading off to Miami University in the fall.
“I may join the club team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to new experiences and to meet new people.”
Varckette is appreciative of his time at Lakeside.
“To see the team break up, after the team and camaraderie we had this year, is sad,” he said. “Playing tennis and hanging out with your friends was fun. We had fun and the team was close.”