2022 Gazette Boys Tennis Player of the Year: Aengus Cox, Amherst

  • Amherst’s Aengus Cox, shown here earlier this season, is the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Boys Tennis Player of the Year. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 7/7/2022 4:52:30 PM
Modified: 7/7/2022 4:49:53 PM

Tennis hooked Aengus Cox like no other sport could.

The curiosity began an early morning at Bay Road Tennis Club when the “11 or 12” year old tagged along with his mother Molly Whalen. She was working with the legendary Art Carrington. A racket found its way into Aengus’ hands. He kept showing up to hit and joined a morning tennis for beginners class. That progressed to an after school program with more advanced kids.

He fed on the evolution.

“That thrill of feeling like lesson to lesson you’re getting technically better is different than I’ve experienced in any other sport. When you’re on point, it’s an amazing feeling,” said Cox, the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Tennis Player of the Year. “It feels like everything is clicking. I’ve never gotten that sensation from any other sport. That’s been addicting.”

Cox can tell he’s on when the ball is going where he tells it. That requires a litany of technical aspects to remain in control, but he’s not thinking about any of them, just reading and reacting.

“Anyone can hit a tennis ball hard if they really swing at it,” the Amherst Regional graduate said. “Having that feeling like what your intention is, where the ball’s going… when you’re in that state, that’s what’s super gratifying. When it all comes together and you’re not thinking about it and the ball is following what you’re wanting to do, there’s not a lot of feelings like that.”

He carved out time for hitting during the fall soccer season and cold winter months, emerging as the Hurricanes’ No. 1 singles player this spring. Cox went 10-4 in leading Amherst to it second consecutive Western Massachusetts championship.

Through his time in the program, Cox tried to integrate some of the camaraderie of his team sports with tennis’ occasionally isolating individuality. He fostered connections with his fellow singles players that sharpened all involved, encouraging teammates in practice and during matches. The Hurricanes created a bond that expanded over the baselines. Cox noticed a connection early in his career between the team’s togetherness and success.

“From a young age, my understanding of sports was inextricably lined to teamwork and working together. Playing singles and tennis is very different from that,” he said. “My favorite sports experiences aren’t individual moments, they’re moments with my teammates.”

He believes the support the Hurricanes cultivated carried across the baselines. Individual match results served the team scoreline.

“I’ve tried to emphasize that communal goal that high school tennis is all about,” Cox said. “You can play the game of your life and still lose 4-1. You need to create a team that’s capable of winning. It makes it more fun.”

Amherst won like few teams in Western Mass during Cox’s time. The Hurricanes won sectional championships in his junior and senior years and played for the title when he was a freshman.

“Our lineup, I think, is really talented and all of our kids could play singles for a different program,” Cox said. “We’re being honest with each other and saying, ‘look, ultimately this is your match, this is your place in the lineup,’ but just like in a team sport, everyone has a responsibility to the team.”

FIRST TEAM ALL-STARS

Carson Boscher, senior, Belchertown

Kiernan Corish, senior, Belchertown

Aengus Cox, senior, Amherst

Reilly Fowles, freshman, Northampton

Robert Fuqua, sophomore, Frontier

Josh Kellogg, senior, Amherst

Aiden Metz, junior, Northampton

Ben Oates, senior, Amherst

Zach Richards, senior, Amherst

Hugo Shinn, seventh grade, PVCICS

James Scott, freshman, PVCICS

Tommy Vinagre, senior, Belchertown

Trevor Weiss, sophomore, Belchertown

SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS

Chris Adzima, senior, Belchertown

Oliver Brown, freshman, Frontier

Max Cahillane, junior, Northampton

Jacob Chaisson, senior, Belchertown

Jacob Han, sophomore, Frontier

Miles Jeffries, freshman, Amherst

Clayton English, sophomore, PVCICS

Durrell Patrick, freshman, Northampton

Teddy Scott, freshman, PVCICS

Sean Whalen, junior, South Hadley


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