GREAT FALLS — Despite losing five seniors from the 2022 state championship team, the Great Falls CMR boys tennis team hasn't missed a step as they remain undefeated in pursuit of their second straight Class AA state title.
With three returning seniors and a young core that has taken its games to the next level, the Rustlers are playing with confidence as the 2023 postseason inches closer.
“I’m pretty confident that we can do it again,” said CMR senior Brady Corn. “I think it’s still going to take a lot of work and dedication but I think we can definitely do it again.”
Coach Byron Boyd alerted the team early in the season that this year would be different from the year before because they have painted a target on their backs. Every opponent they have faced thus far has given them maximum effort in attempt to take down the reigning champs, but CMR has responded every time by keeping its composure.
“They’ve done a good job of staying on track. I mean obviously the goal is to repeat,” said Boyd. “They’ve done a good job. We just focus on week to week.”
The team’s success not only comes from Boyd instructing them on what to do, but from each member of the team coaching each other up and giving their all-out support. The championship experience turned the returners into natural leaders, and it has reflected in the way they’ve played all season long.
“We have fun and we don’t really worry about wining or losing. We push each other, even the younger kids push up,” said junior Joshua Stimac. “We all have great leadership and it’s all together. No one is above everyone else.”
Brady Pike, a sophomore, was able to get a taste of the high life during his freshman season. With the team currently undefeated in his second year, he not only understands what the expectations are for him and his team, but he also is working his hardest so they can live up to it.
“It was a really cool and unique moment. It was my first year playing on the team so it set the expectation because I guess I haven’t had a bad season yet so I’m trying to run it back,” said Pike.
The Rustlers will continue their season on Friday as they head to a tournament in Bozeman.