HELENA — In the fall, Ethan Hayes and Dylan Maharg could be found out on the soccer field for Helena High, and after wrapping up stellar soccer careers for the Bengals, the duo turned their attention to tennis.
In their first season of playing tennis for the Bengals, the duo is the number one doubles team for Helena High. Maharg said the difference in the way one approaches each sport is refreshing.
"If you make a mistake in soccer, sometimes it can result in like a big play, and if there's only one or two goals, a game, like a mistake that cost a goal can be really bad," said Maharg. "In tennis, you make a mistake, and it's really just whoever makes the least amount of mistakes wins. So really, you got to like, refocus after each point.”
Maharg and Hayes were invited to try out by one of the Bengals’ coaches last year, but the two weren’t exactly sold on trying out, so the coach did what any reasonable person would do.
“We were just kind of iffy, not really wanting to do it. But then he's like, I'll get you guys Taco Bell if you come,” said Maharg.
“He got me quite a bit. He got me two beefy burritos, a steak quesadilla and three chicken melts,” said Hayes with a grin. “It was bulking season.”
The two came for the Taco Bell but left with new appreciation for the sport of tennis, and as the Bengals get set for the post season, they’re excited for a number of things.
"We've only been playing matches straight up, and so we don't really have that tournament atmosphere yet," said Maharg. "I'm just kind of excited to have that double elimination tournament where your whole season is on the line and it'll be like if you don't win this match, you could be going home."
Though the two are just in their first year of copetitive tennis, Hayes knows they'll have their backs up against the wall come tournament time, but he doesn't expect them to shy away from the challenge.
"What excites me the most is just being able to play against kids that we've known that have been playing since their freshman year," said Hayes. "I'm hoping that we can compete against them."