Almost always a contender for the state championship, the Bishop Hendricken tennis team had somewhat of a down season. It went just 5-7, and missed the playoffs.
Yet, while wins were sometimes hard to come by, dedication was not – and it starts with Carlos Arciniegas.
Arciniegas, a junior who played No. 1 for the Hawks all season long, set the tone for the team, even if it didn’t show up on the scoreboard. He went 5-7 individually, and was named second-team All-State by the Coaches Association.
In his first year consistently playing on the singles ladder, it was a big responsibility that he readily embraced.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I always remember watching my sister play No. 1 (at North Smithfield),” Arciniegas said. “She was No. 1 since her freshman year. I’ve always wanted to play No. 1. My freshman and sophomore year, I was really close to playing singles.”
That desire was evident in his game. Not the hardest hitter in the state, Arciniegas was a return machine, keeping him in close matches against some of the best players out there.
“He’s as competitive and passionate about tennis as anyone that I’ve ever had,” Hendricken head coach Steve Crawford said. “I can say that unequivocally. I’ve had a lot of good tennis players here.”
And that bodes well for his – and the team’s future. Arciniegas will be back next season for his senior year, where he’ll open the season as the team’s No. 1 player once again.
With another summer of practice and hard work under his belt, he figures to take another step forward, and thrust himself into the true upper echelon of players in Rhode Island.
“He needs to sophisticate his game and give it another dimension,” Crawford said. “That’s what he needs to do. He knows that, and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t do that.”
That’s certainly Arciniegas’s plan.
“A lot of the guys are making plans for next year saying their team is going to be like this or be like that,” he said. “I told them, ‘If the season starts tomorrow, we might not do well. But we still have a whole summer. I’ve seen a lot of guys improve dramatically over the year.’”