MIDDLETON — Emry Wood and Grant Davis have done a lot of chest bumping this season — 12 times to be exact.
It’s what the Middleton boys doubles tennis team does every time they win a match, and with a undefeated record of 12-0 this season, their chests might be a little sore. But as much celebrating as the Middleton players have done this season, there is something they haven’t gotten to chest bump about, a state championship. Something the pair look to do in exactly three weeks at the 4A State Boys Tennis Tournament.
“There is just a good chemistry between the boys,” Middleton tennis coach Mila Wood said. “They’re both competitive, but both have a lot of fun on the court. They also both work hard outside of our high school practices. Grant is really, really athletic and Emry is a natural tennis player, so it’s a perfect fit.”
Emry, a senior, and Davis, a junior, have both played tennis since they were little. Emry got his start when his mother, Mila, put a tennis racket in his hands at the age of 3. Davis, meanwhile, took up the sport when he was 7 years old after his brother Duke, who couldn’t play basketball because of a heart murmur, recruited him to play.
But the two hadn’t played together until last season. Emry was in need of a new doubles partner after playing in back-to-back state championship games during his first two seasons. He played doubles his freshman year with older brother Cash before winning a state title in mixed doubles with Camille Ball as a sophomore.
Davis played singles his freshman year, when he qualified for the state tournament. Emry and Davis’ prior success made the decision to come together a no-brainer.
“We just kind of connected,” Emry said. “I knew he was a pretty good player. We’re pretty equal so I figured it would be a good fit and a good way to continue to win.”
The pairing proved to be wise as they found success right off the bat. Emry and Davis went 15-2 on their way to claiming the 4A boys double district title last season.
However, in the championship game, the tandem suffered an setback. Emry and Davis lost 7-6, 6-3 to Bishop Kelly’s Jacob Pintar and Elliot Klein in the championship match, the team they had beaten for the 4A district championship a week before.
“We could have won it because we beat them in districts and were both playing the best tennis we’ve ever played,” Emry said. “But we just lost it and it didn’t happen. It was unforced errors that got us, I think.”
Emry and Davis have yet to face a real challenge this season with Pintar and Klein gone. Along with the unblemished record, they’ve defeated all opponents in straight sets, and they feel the state championship is theirs for the taking.
“We’re pretty confident we can take state this year,” Emry said. “There are tough competitors out there and we know that, but we’re playing even better than we were last year. So we’re just ready for another chance to go out there and show everyone what we got.”
In fact, the closest competition they’ve had this season was each other. The duo played a friendly game at practice earlier this season with the younger Davis getting the better of his partner.
“He told me, ‘I bet if we played a set, you wouldn’t get a game on me,’” Davis said. “So first game, I went out and won and ended up beating him pretty good. I think that was a rough patch for him. He’s definitely doing better now.”
It’s rare when Emry and Davis don’t have fun like that in practice. The pair can usually be found cracking jokes or being silly at practice, a type of attitude that has infected the rest of the team.
“We like to have fun,” Davis said. “When you’re playing, it’s always good to have fun. We’re good at keeping it lighthearted and having fun. And that keeps us and the rest of the team easygoing.”
They hope the fun continues during the final three weeks of the season, starting with a home match against Vallivue on Monday, before districts and state in the coming weeks.
The 4A boys doubles district tournament is May 11 at Ridgevue High, with the state tournament the following week May 19-20 at the Boise Racquet Club. If Emry and Davis do return to state and take the state title that eluded them last season, imagine what kind of chest bump would ensue.
“We’ve been thinking a lot about it,” Davis said. “We both really want that state championship. After that loss last year and getting so close, we have the experience and that’s good, but we definitely want the win this time.”