Tennis player reaches new heights as a senior
Adrian Dantzler considers himself a huge Norwich University athletics fan. He follows every sport as if he was an ESPN analyst.
That includes tennis. And according to Dantzler, who is a 21-year-old communications major from Mitchellville, Md., Collin Hyte, a senior captain on the Norwich tennis team is one of the best tennis players to play for Norwich.
Hyte, 21, a communications major from Marblehead, Mass., won the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) player of the year as a sophomore and had a solid junior season. His teammates and coaches say Hyte has put in a large amount of work this year and is could take player of the year honors again this year.
"He is certainly capable of (winning) it," said head tennis coach Kyle Dezotell. He has confidence in Hyte and also thinks this year's team is the best since Hyte's freshman year.
"The team should do well this year, I'd be surprised if they don't have a winning season, and I feel they are capable of beating Suffolk," Dantzler said.
"My goal for this season is to play well and obviously, more importantly, I want the team to do well. We have a team right now with depth in the lineup," said Hyte. "Our only two tough matches, I think, will be Suffolk and Emerson."
Hyte has put together an impressive resume on the tennis court over the past four years.
"My freshman year I played two singles under Peter Hooper, a good tennis player, who did well here. I lost four matches that year, it was kind of a learning experience about how college is a change of pace," he said.
Dezotell said that Hyte was recruited by schools that had stronger programs than Norwich and the staff was very pleased when Hyte chose to play for the Cadets.
Hyte's GNAC player of the year award surprised him. "I went undefeated in regular season play with a mark of 9-0. GNAC MVP was pretty cool; especially because I didn't realize I was undefeated until the end of the year," he said.
"Collin struggled a bit academically when he came here, I am not sure if he was prepared for college academics and collegiate sports and his sophomore year he kind of figured it out; how to do both and do both well," said Dezotell.
"We have the same major and I saw him improve in the classroom setting. He also seemed to have a lot more confidence in general," Dantzler said.
According to Hyte, he put in a lot of work that offseason; including mental preparation.
"I played a lot of cards and chess. It helps me out with strategy because it makes you think about different situations. Cards allows you the ability to bluff; just a different way of mental preparation," Hyte said.
Even though he was not player of the year his junior year Dezotell said that it was a great learning experience. The coach thinks those experiences will pay off in his senior season.
"If he has a weakness it is that he is a little bit stuck to his routine and sometimes he can struggle if he is forced to play someone else's game. I think last year he learned that," Dezotell said.
Hyte's work ethic is noticed by teammates, especially because he is doing more physical training than ever before.
"I have done a lot of running, Brandon Fowler of the football team has helped me out a lot with training and put me on a workout plan, I got to give him credit. I try to run 30 minutes a day and I try to play tennis every day. I noticed a lot of improvement on my serve - I get a little more pace on it. I am not as tired, I can stick with the matches more," Hyte said.
Teammate Christian Hoskey, a 19-year-old sophomore political science major from St. Charles, Ill., notices the example set by his captain.
"He has a consistent strong work ethic and likes to improve his weaknesses, Hoskey said.
Hyte lives off campus and one of his housemates has noticed the work Hyte has been putting in preparing for the tennis season.
"I wake up for class and he is coming back from the gym. He leaves to play at least four times a week, and just keeps talking about how excited and ready he is to tear it up his senior year," said John Taranto a 21-year-old junior communications major from New Brittan, Conn.
Hyte, this year, as a team captain, knows he has to mentor and lead his teammates.
"I approach things a lot different than I did freshman or sophomore year so I have developed as a player and I understand things differently than when I was younger," Hyte said.
Not only does Hyte stand out as a leader on the tennis courts, but he leads outside of the tennis environment as well.
"I see him have guys from the team over to the house, and you can just tell he is the leader of the group," Taranto said.
The leadership Hyte possesses, as well as his physical improvements and lessons learned will be a key part to guiding the Cadets this spring.
The "most challenging matches" according to Hyte, will both be played at home, on April 7 against Suffolk, and on April 14 against Emerson.
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