State senior Jordan Reynolds and freshman Mike Durr have played
tennis together now at three different levels. (Photos by Larry
Olmsted residents provide Vikings with a lift
By Zachary Dzurick
Published April 13, 2005
Reynolds first began to play tennis, he has had a shadow in the
form of Mike Durr.
"Since I have
picked up a tennis racket, I have known Mike," Reynolds said. "I
guess you could call him my little brother. I have always picked
on him since he started to play."
The two learned
to play tennis at the River Run Racquet Club in Strongsville. When
that closed down six years ago, they moved with their coach to the
North Olmsted Rec Center.
three varsity letters at North Olmsted High. He was a captain his
senior year when he was named the most improved player. The freshman
playing at second singles was Durr.
earn three more varsity letters and become a captain himself. Reynolds
moved on to Cleveland State. His freshmen year was a bit of a train
wreck as he went 1-15 in singles and 1-17 in doubles. The team struggled
as well with only two wins.
and Durr are not the only Westshore connections to the team.
The River Oaks Racquet Club in Rocky River is vital to the
team as well.
Oaks is our home away from home," Etzkin said. "We only got
outside last week. So since January we have been practicing
there and hosting our home matches there."
The team is fortunate to have a relationship with the club.
former head coach, Teresa Boylan, is one of the head pros
there," Etzkin said. "She is now an assistant coach with the
team. It is definitely a positive. I don't know too many programs
that can go into a 10-court facility and have such a nice
place to play. We get some of the members to come out and
watch us besides just our regular fans."
Playing in Rocky River is an added bonus for Reynolds and
is great having it only 10 minutes from home," Durr said.
The Vikings have two more home matches this weekend against
Butler on Saturday and Robert Morris on Sunday. If the weather
cooperates, the matches will be held on campus at East 21st
and Chester. If it doesn't, the matches will begin at 10 a.m.
at River Oaks.
in the form of a new coach, Brian Etzkin. The Cleveland native came
from Michigan State where he was an assistant coach. The team won
9 matches in his first year and 13 last season including a third-place
finish at the Horizon Conference tournament, the Vikings' highest
"We are winning
because of the coach," Reynolds said. "He has brought everything.
He has taught us to play tennis. My freshman year we just came out
and hit a ball. He taught me everything I know about how to win."
on Reynolds, now a senior, at the fifth singles position.
one of the most improved players that I have ever gotten to coach,"
Etzkin said. "He led the team in wins last year in the five spot.
He has come a long way. He also adds the aspect of having someone
local for people to cheer for."
It is no surprise
that Reynolds was the one who recommended Durr to the coach.
is very similar to mine," Reynolds said. "I have grown up watching
him play and know how much room for improvement there is for him.
Just like I did when I was a freshman, so I recommended him. We
have three seniors this year, so there will be plenty of room for
him to fill in nextt year."
"I had heard
from Jordan about Mike," Etzkin said. "I went to see him play and
he was someone I thought could really develop. He has great hands
and nice fluid strokes. Mike also just really wants to be a part
of the team. In fact, his dad Fred played for Cleveland State."
The team has
been saddled with injuries this season. Durr has come through and
helped out the team more than once.
"We have had
a lot of injuries. I think we have had a full line-up one time,"
Etzkin said. "Mike has come in and should in the future fill the
role that Jordan fills for us now. Maybe he isn't a starter now,
but we have asked him to fill in because of injuries several times.
He had a big doubles win and then won at sixth singles against Youngstown
State for a big conference win. He is a role player this year but
he has filled shoes well."
a lot of similarities between the two friends.
"Both are fighters
on the court," Etzkin said. "That is something I look for for. You
watch these two guys on the court and they never give up on a ball.
An example was earlier this season when Jordan was down 5-0 or 5-1
in the third set and we were tied 3-3 at the time. He came back
and won. That rarely ever happens and it was just pure fight that
got him back."
As Etzkin builds
the Cleveland State program, he believes it is important to get
kids from Ohio to stay home and play.
"My first goal
every year is to bring kids in from Ohio," Etzkin said. "It is an
added benefit when we can get kids from the Cleveland area in terms
of local fan support."
and Durr are glad they chose Cleveland State. Staying at home was
important to both.
"I didn't have
to move anywhere," Reynolds said. "I could live at home and just
drive here. Having family here is a really big thing for me."
"It was close
and fit in the budget," Durr said. "Also knowing someone already
on the team was a big plus."
it has been an adjustment to go from the number one guy in high
school to part-time player in his first year of college tennis.
"It is tough
not knowing if you are going to play," Durr said. "You just try
to get better in practice just in case."
transition easier has been having Reynolds around for advice.
"I always wanted
to play as good as Jordan could," Durr said. "I always looked up
to him. He has helped me to try and keep my cool and not be overly
emotional when I play."
tennis, the team is also involved in the community as well.
"Our team does
a lot of community service," Reynolds said. "We tutored underprivileged
kids last year at a nearby school. This year the team spent two
hours at a food bank stocking food."
giving back adds perspective.
"It makes you
realize there are other things going on," Durr said. "There are
people out there that need help and you are lucky enough to go to