Crusader tennis player Nash Morris not resting on his laurels

Any person who was around Parkersburg Catholic No. 1 singles’ tennis player Nash Morris after his Class AA/A state finals matchup against Ravenswood’s Maximus Hilton could see the jubilation on his face.

Charleston Catholic’s Andrew Jones wasn’t going to take anything away from Nash this time around after he dashed his dreams two seasons in a row.

The Crusader junior finally captured his desired state title after a three-set, 2:30-hour marathon with Hilton.

Morris still had to earn the title however and he fell behind early. Ravenswood’s top player came out aggressive and fast with a 6-1 first-set win to put pressure on the Crusader. The Red Devils strong forehand gave Morris fits.

Hilton was relentless in the second set, but Morris dug deep for a 7-5 win for some much needed momentum.

“I made him use his backhand shot more, which isn’t as strong,” said Morris who secured the title with a 6-1 win in the deciding set.

“He was really tested in the state tournament,” said PCHS head coach Jason Discini. “He was down and out after the first set and could have just packed it in rolled over because it was a lopsided first set. But he did not give up and fought and fought and fought and fought and came away with a state championship … I couldn’t have been prouder for that.”

It was “all I ever wanted” Nash reflected on at the time. Thoughts of his final year on the high school court couldn’t have been further from his mind during his celebration inside the Charleston YMCA.

How time flies as things warm up and the calendar days fall away on the Crusaders’ senior year.

He surely is thinking about his last remaining matches now with Parkersburg Catholic getting the season underway against Notre Dame on March 21 at Jackson Park.

“To me it would be a sad story if I won the state title my junior year and lost it in my senior year,” said Morris when asked what will fuel him this season. “I want to get another one. A team title would be nice too. I definitely like the banner.”

The senior is playing confidently as practice enters Week 3, which is dangerous for everyone else. “I have always played well when I am confident.”

Rust won’t be a problem either. Morris played in a couple of tournaments and faced off against one of the top competitors for his title in Winfield’s Sam Bowman.

“He hasn’t played high school tennis before because I don’t think there was enough competition,” said Morris. “But he is playing this year.”

Winfield doesn’t appear on the Crusaders schedule, so the only time he would see Bowman comes in the state tournament.

Challenges during the regular season are few and far between but Parkersburg High’s Zarion Jones and Hilton, along with the inevitable surprise or two, will get Morris ready to protect his house.

“I like the high intensity, high pressure, competitive moments and I play pretty well in them,” said Morris.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.

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