After spending the past three seasons on the edge of making the varsity team, senior Sebastian Cowan was excited to start the 2020 season.
Unfortunately Cowan, like many others in 2020, was faced with unexpected disappointment due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Even from his freshman year, he's almost been on the varsity team," head coach Michael Hower said. "Finally, he's a senior and before the first match he gets quarantined."
Cowan had to quarantine for two weeks after he said he was exposed at school. Then, he had to have four practices before he could take to the courts in competition, setting him back three weeks.
"I never actually got sick. I never had any symptoms," Cowan said. "A kid in my gym class got COVID and the whole entire class was out."
Overall, he missed 10 matches and could only support his team by watching the matches via Facebook Live stream.
"I had to watch online from home. It was very frustrating because our team was losing matches and I knew if I was there we could win those," he said. "I'm glad to be back now."
Though some students may have spent their time on quarantine watching television or playing video games, Cowan's quarantine only drove him to work harder.
"I just went out and hit with my dad and came out and served by myself. I kept working super hard," Cowan said. "I really like to be active and can't stay inside all day."
Cowan's absence, though it may have cost the team some matches in the early season, may have actually been a blessing in disguise.
"When he came back that was a jolt — this is who we really are," Hower said.
Cowan was set to play No. 3 singles, but after players were shuffled in his absence, he returned to play No. 2 doubles in a matchup that's proved beneficial to the Spartans.
Cowan is paired with freshman Alex Graber, a stellar athlete without significant experience in tennis.
"We had a young kid who surprised us and needed someone who knew a lot about tennis — and they clicked," Hower said. "He needed someone with tennis IQ who could tell him what to do, and Sebastian was excited to do that."
The No. 4 Spartans will face their biggest test of the season in the quarterfinals of the state championship Friday, taking on host Carmel which is ranked No. 1 in the state.