Teamwork paves the way to Big North Conference title for Alpena tennis duo
ALPENA — Practice and teamwork have paid off for Landon Gagnon and Nathan Pokorzynski this season.
The duo, which makes up Alpena High’s four doubles team, won the Big North Conference on Friday.
“It’s amazing, it’s not completely shocking to be totally honest, but they have come together and played seven or eight times. Right now they’re undefeated, which is great and they had really good synergy,” Alpena coach Charlie Giordano said.
Winning the conference title was monumental for Alpena’s program and Pokorzynski and Gagnon continue to set a high standard.
“I had a doubles team a long time ago that won their flight in regionals, but we’ve never won the Big North like this. I kept telling them every time we won this year that they were a part of history,” Giordano said.
After Gagnon and Pokorzynski began undefeated, their confidence in one another rose. Both of them had set very high expectations for each other and they fulfilled those expectations.
“It felt really good because I knew going into it we had a really good chance. I felt like it would’ve been a disappointment if we did lose,” Gagnon said.
Coming into the year, Giordano had high hopes the duo would perform, but as the season progressed the pair emerged as two impactful breakout players for the Wildcats.
“They are very comfortable with each other which can be overlooked, but has been a big part of their success. It’s very hard to play doubles sometimes because you never want to let your partner down. Landon and Nathan shake it off with no problem. They’re very competitive and always try their best to succeed,” Giordano said.
Practicing with one another has been Gagnon and Pokorzynski’s primary key to success, they said. Through practice, the two of them have been making improvements all year long to become a better team.
“We practice all the time together trying to fix the little mistakes and we’ve really learned to trust each other. When times get tough in a match, I can always count on (Gagnon) to help me out,” Pokorzynski said.
Since both players are underclassmen — Gagnon is a sophomore and Pokorzynski is a freshman — the duo has a lot of tennis ahead of them.
“To be competitive in our conference is great. Once they won a couple of matches I got excited and looked at the opponents they had played. I thought there was a chance they would be seeded first and then they ended up winning the whole thing which was very cool,” Giordano said.