By Travis Whitton
For The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
Although Lapel’s Garrett Fensler has only been playing the game of tennis for four short years, he has dedicated himself to the sport and it culminated in him being named The 2013 Herald Bulletin Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
As a youngster, Fensler made what appears to be a life-changing decision when he went to a Bulldogs tennis camp. That is the moment he realized how much he loved the game.
Fensler has put in the extra time and work to master his game, but he also has the pedigree to be an uber-talented athlete. His father, Marc, grew up in Defiance, Ohio, as a wrestler and powerlifter while his mom, from Lapel, played high school volleyball, basketball and softball.
The athletic gene has been passed down the lineage as Fensler’s twin brother Daulton is on the No. 2 doubles team for Lapel and on the golf team. His younger brother Marc Ryan Fensler is on the eighth grade cross country, wrestling and track teams.
Garrett, only a sophomore, plays his sport year-round at the Anderson Sports Center and in Carmel, along with competing in USTA events in the offseason. He won a couple of those events to boost his confidence coming into the 2013 season.
Fensler finished the season at No. 1 singles with a 21-5 record, and was 20-6 last year for a combined 41-11 varsity record in his short but illustrious high school tennis career.
He said his family has had a big influence on his game.
“My parents and grandparents are very encouraging and helpful,” said Fensler. “They are always willing to take me to practice, lessons, tournaments or whatever I need to make myself better — sometimes at all hours of the day and night. I’ve always had such a great support system. I want to really thank my grandpa (Woody Fields) for helping me this season. Without his help, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”
Lapel boys tennis coach Justin Coomer has been another big influence that Fensler has known since the beginning of his tennis roots.
“I’ve known Coach Coomer since I was very little,” he said. “He has always told us to work as hard as you can and you will be successful.”
Coomer said that what makes the sophomore standout so easy to coach is that he has a good attitude and is dedicated to tennis.
“Garrett is a joy to coach. He’s a kid where I don’t have to worry about him not being ready to play every match, or if he drops a few games I know he’s going to bounce back and be OK,” said Coomer. “He, along with several of our other kids, stay quite often after practice to hit more balls and try to get better.”
Fensler helped lead his team to a sectional title this fall before bowing out in the regionals to the state-ranked Marion Giants on their home court. He has already set his goal to best this season’s success next year.
Fensler not only beat everyone in Madison County that he faced, but he did so in dominant fashion by not even dropping a set to any of his intercounty foes.
Coomer knows that his star pupil has room to grow and is looking forward to seeing how far Fensler’s talent will take him.
“I think Garrett still has a lot of room to improve. He has only played tennis for four years, as he taught himself how to play,” said the Lapel coach. “He watches a lot of YouTube videos to pick up tips, as well. He can still improve on his backhand, net game and just overall consistency. I am excited to see how good he can become and to see how good our team can be the next few years.”