Senior Ben Mitan started his school year as the starting goalie for the Helias boys’ varsity soccer team where he made 134 saves that helped advance the team to the Final 4, where they finished off their season with a 17-11-1 record, taking third place in state.
Mitan’s success came after over a decade of soccer practices and games.
“It means so much because all the hard work we seniors put in for 4 years had finally paid off,” said Mitan when asked what it felt like to make it to the Final 4 his senior year. “For the younger guys, it’s a step in the right direction.”
Mitan was named All-Region for his efforts on the Helias soccer team. After the soccer season, Mitan transitioned his athletic skills to the tennis court.
“I found that tennis was a transferable skill from being a goalie in soccer, because of the reflexes tennis requires and keeping the ball in front of you,” Mitan said.
Mitan has played tennis for two years. He plays singles and doubles. The tennis team practices every day after school unless they have a match.
“Members of the tennis team know that practice is a time to take it seriously and improve,” said Mitan. “Also, on weekends, many of us go out and practice on our own.”
Mitan’s motivation comes from his teammates.
“The competition my teammates bring to practice is the most motivating part of tennis for me,” Mitan said.
Mitan and T.J. Hagenhoff, his doubles partner, spend time practicing together every day after school, but also spend time making memories.
“My favorite part of tennis is when my partner, T.J. Hagenhoff, and I score in practice and celebrate unnecessarily,” Mitan said.
All of Mitan’s hard work certainly paid off, as he and T.J. Hagenhoff qualified for Sectionals. They defeated teams from Father Tolton and Fulton to take 2nd in Districts. On May 18, the duo went on to win Sectionals to move on to State.
As Mitan finishes his last week of high school this week and moves on to pursue a math or engineering major at Rockhurst University, he leaves some advice for the younger tennis players.
“Having fun playing tennis, is a great way to improve,” Mitan said.