NEWBURYPORT — A one-sport athlete, Newburyport tennis’ senior captain Chris Kirkpatrick focuses on tennis year round, and it shows. After losing just once his junior year, he has yet to be defeated midway through his senior season.
A stellar tennis player, Kirkpatrick has also benefitted his team by exhibiting strong leadership. While vast talent oftentimes creates poor leadership, Kirkpatrick’s abilities on the court have only strengthened his skills as a captain.
“He comes to every practice,” Gilman said. “He always has a good attitude and is more than willing to help everyone else improve. When you have guys that good, they don’t always want to practice with the team and want to do their own thing. Chris is never like that. He brings everything to the team that he can.”
Though his team has struggled and is just 1-5, Kirkpatrick is a perfect 6-0 with seven matches remaining in the regular season. It’s an accomplishment that has his coach both thinking and expecting awards for his senior captain.
“He’s definitely the best tennis player in our league,” Newburyport head coach Courtney Gilman said. “He’s definitely going to win the CAL and will be seeded in the state individual tournament, where I hope he can go a long way.”
Along with a possible state title run, Kirkpatrick is eying an award that many feel he earned last year. With just one loss, he beat many of the CAL’s best athletes but fell short of winning Player of the Year honors, something Gilman believes to be due to several reasons.
“His one loss was against someone who he wouldn’t be competing against for the award,” Gilman said. “He beat the best kids and lost one close match, but it’s more that he wasn’t a senior. It’s not suppopsed to be a senior award, but some of the guys that vote feel that it’s more of an all-around thing. They want a good captain, good athlete, good kid and usually a senior. This year, he fits the bill.”