Going into this season, winning the Tournament of Champions wasn't the number one goal for the Westfield Blue Devils boys tennis team. Even Scott Bernstein, who was one of the four senior captains on the Westfield team and on the team that won it all in 2007 and finished second in 2008 and 2009, admits it wasn't the top goal for the team.
"In the beginning of the year our goal was to win the Group 4 championship," said Bernstein. "It was in the back of our minds to win the state championship but the goal was to win our group."
The tennis team captured the group championship, becoming the first team in history to win it for four straight years.
Bernstein, who along with the other three seniors had a memorable senior year, has been playing tennis and practicing for that kind of experience for more than half his life.
"I started to learn to play ten years ago," said Bernstein. "My older brother taught me how to play."
Since his brother taught him to play the game, along with his first instructor Kim Selert, practicing and keeping up a certain intensity to be at the top of his game has been important to Bernstein, who won the state doubles championship with Graeme Stahl in 2009. This helped him and the team this year when things weren't going as planned.
"We had a lot of changes in our lineup," said Bernstein, "but the team held our own practices outside the organized practices and kept up the same intensity."
The big change in their lineup was losing Adam Reich, who had offseason hip surgery. But when Reich managed to return to the court and began to play in matches, it was important for him to experience their last matches together, including the championship.
"All four of us experienced it," said Bernstein. "I wanted to win and go out on top with Adam, Justin, and Graeme. It was icing on the cake when that happened."
Now that he has graduated, Bernstein has an opportunity to continue playing tennis in college.
"I was recruited to play for Bucknell University," said Bernstein. "I still have to go out and make the team, but that is another four years I am looking forward too."
Editor's Note: This is the first in a four part series on the captains of the 2010 state champion Westfield High School boys tennis team.