From ’12 masked faces’ to state runners-up

Trinity boys tennis team 'exceeded all expectations', says coach.

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Connor Herman and Beau Freedman
Connor Herman, front, and Beau Freedman combined as Trinity’s top doubles team.

MANCHESTER, NH – In 2019, the Trinity High School boys tennis team set a new bar for team success by reaching the Division-III state semifinals.

With the cancelled 2020 spring season, every member of that 2019 team had graduated by the time the Pioneers convened again this spring.

That reality, coupled with the fact that all 12 players who registered to play tennis this year were sophomores and freshmen – many of whom had never picked up a racket before – left head coach Chip Polak with more uncertainty than confidence heading into the 2021 season.

In fact, he admits he counted himself lucky to have a genuine No. 1 player in sophomore Beau Freedman, as well as 11 other players who at least knew how to keep score.

“Although the team exceeded all expectations, I honestly had no idea what those expectations were,” said Polak. “At the first meeting, I had 12 masked faces that I had never even met before. I was overjoyed with 12 but had no idea about playing ability.”

Yet it was that same inexperienced group of young athletes who shook the New Hampshire boys tennis landscape by not only once again reaching the state semifinals, but earning a decisive 7-2 win over Gilford on June 6 to advance to the D-III championship content.

Though the Pioneers ended up falling, 6-2, in that matchup with Kearsarge on June 5, Polak said this year’s team set a new bar for Trinity tennis success, a reality he hopes will drive the players as they enter an important offseason.

“Our team philosophy on the court is ‘get the ball back one more time,'” said Polak. “If the players play this summer, they will be able to accomplish that. One point at a time, one game at a time and one match at a time.”

And while all 12 contributed either in practice or live action this season, Polak said his top six players really stepped up to lead the Pioneers to the championship match.

Sophomores Quinn Booth, Conner Hermann, Nick Bourne and Colin Tran, as well as freshman Leo Skiathitis, joined Freedman in growing each match and becoming solid tennis players as ladder regulars, said Polak.

In addition, Brady Hollansbee, Liam Hodge, Aiden Quirk, Jared Fermin, Drew Stephen and Jack Stephen all improved with each practice and gave every indication of a bright future ahead, said Polak, who also credited assistant coach Jeff Freedman for each individual players’ improvement, as well as making practice fun in the process.

About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: