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Finally, getting over hump

Fogarty's love of tennis leads to court wins at Thomas College

After failing to experience success as Mariner, perseverance allows Rockland resident to take bite out of foes as Terrier
By Mark Haskell | Apr 30, 2021
Courtesy of: Thomas College Athletics Carter Fogarty plays tennis at Thomas College in Waterville.

Waterville — For four years, Oceanside High School graduate Carter Fogarty, try as he might, could not swing his way to a victory on the tennis courts.

With the 2020 graduate’s final season wiped out due to COVID-19, he ended his high school career with a goose egg in the win column. Zero wins. Thirty-six losses.

However, Fogarty, who admittedly was not the best tennis player and relied mightily on his athletic makeup in that regard, is the personification of hard work and perseverance.

Which paid off for the now freshman tennis player at Thomas College on Sunday, April 25 when the Terriers visited SUNY-Delhi in Delhi, N.Y.

The Rockland resident, who played fifth singles and third doubles on the day, netted a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Dominick DeBonis and, along with teammate Rajhan Munnings, bested DeBonis and Nathaniel Morgan, 8-2, in a pro set.

Those two victories helped the Terriers swing to a 6-3 win over the Broncos.

Thus, Fogarty went from no wins in four years to two wins in one day.

“I was sure that I’d never win a match, so this was a really pleasant surprise to end my freshman year at Thomas," he said.

“It felt amazing,” said the 19-year-old financial accounting major. “Like I finally got over a mental hurdle that’s been blocking me for years. When I scored the last point of the set [in singles], it felt like a backpack full of bricks slid off my back.”

Fogarty also golfed and wrestled during his time with the Mariners. He earned a first-place finish at the Husky Winter Classic during his junior season and later finished second in the state in the 113-pound class on the mats.

He won his share of golf matches as well, but never qualified for the individual state championships.

While he described himself as “consistent” on the links, that has proven to define his overall athletic work ethic.

"I really enjoy playing sports, in general, even if I’m not winning competitively,” he said. “Just going out and making little improvements every day gives me motivation to keep going and feels so rewarding.”

Fogarty played second singles throughout his high school tennis career, which would pit him against typically uber-talented players from throughout the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, including players from Camden Hills of Rockport and Belfast, which won the Class A North and Class B North titles that season.

Despite having a “lack of experience” in tennis, he said losing with such consistency, “As a competitor, it stung a lot.”

“For most of my matches I went into them knowing my opponent was many skill levels above me,” he said. “But even knowing that, I still would get frustrated with myself for not playing at the level of these kids who had been playing for a lot longer than me.”

"As the number two singles player, he played many great matches that could have gone either way, but like a coin toss that keeps coming up tails, Carter's record seemed to defy probability," said Ken Russell, who coached Fogarty at OHS in 2019.

"I am very happy to hear that Carter is playing tennis at Thomas, and that he has finally attained that elusive first win. He certainly deserves this hard-earned success."

Fogarty played baseball in middle school, but decided to pivot to tennis when he got to OHS.

“I had played at the MRC when I was much younger, and I felt like it was an enjoyable, laid-back sport I could enjoy in the spring,” he said. “I didn’t go in with any competitive motivation to be the best or anything like that.”

He moved on to Thomas College the same way. In fact, Fogarty had no plans to join the tennis team, until he got to his dormitory.

“First day of Thomas I was talking to my [resident assistant] and he mentioned that he played tennis here,” said Fogarty. “I told him I played in high school and he invited me to join the team. Thomas was really lacking in numbers so that gave me the opportunity to walk on and play.”

“I didn’t scout him out,” said Thomas College coach Rob Disch, who previously coached the Waterville and Gardiner boys high school programs. “Nobody played last year and the year before, we’re in our season so it’s hard to see a lot of the high school kids until its the end of their season. He was interested in the fall but he didn’t do anything [with us] because he wanted to make sure he could handle the academics. He started up with us in the spring and began working with him.”

Disch said Fogarty’s teammates were clued in to his losing streak. “I bring it up whenever I have the chance,” said Fogarty.

So when he slammed home his match-point winner Sunday against DeBonis, he was promptly congratulated by teammates on ending the streak.

“Everyone was super pumped for me getting my first win,” he said. “My coach, especially, who I really appreciate. The improvements I made in my game that gave me the ability to win the match came directly from all the help he gave me this year.”

“He’s developed his game, he’s put the time in at practice and he enjoys himself out there,” said Disch. “He’s there every day and he’s a very coachable and personable kid. One of the kids you like to have on the squad and he’s picked it up quite well.”

The Terriers finished the abbreviated regular season 1-2 and faced Northern Vermont University-Lyndon for the North Atlantic Conference East Division championship on Sunday, May 2 at Apex Racket and Fitness in Portland.

The Hornets stung the Terriers 5-4 for the conference crown as Fogarty earned a split of matches, as he netted a win at second doubles along with Munnings, while he fell at fifth singles.

Carter Fogarty plays tennis at Thomas College in Waterville. (Courtesy of: Thomas College Athletics)
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