Winning moment for Warren tennis player
Collin Sorge surged. Without a racket in his hand. Without ever smashing a forehand in a high school match last spring.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have wiped out all 2020 competitions for boys tennis players, including Warren senior Sorge, but even in a season when there wasn't a season, the A-student/athlete won.
The Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association hands out an annual Pitchford Sportsmanship Award to one player in both Class A and AA. Coaches from around the state nominate players. The award takes into consideration on-court sportsmanship, team support, academic success, school and community involvement, and leadership.
Despite no spring campaign, the IHSTCA committee still gave out the sportsmanship award since many of the factors in deciding the winner take place prior to the season.
Sorge netted the Class AA honor. The Class A finalists included Grayslake Central's Aavik Patel and Lakes' Jack Murrie. Sorge's teammates, Nathan Denny and Sam Yoder, were Class AA finalists.
"I think it shows how great of a program we have," Sorge said. "All three of us could have won it. Sam and Nathan are both really good students, and they both are good sports."
For the last three years on Warren's varsity, Sorge forged a reputation as a player who's coachable, reliable, mentally tough, respectful of the game and able to get the most out of his abilities.
Called by Blue Devils coach Michael Edler a "surprise varsity candidate" as a sophomore, the 5-foot-11 Sorge played mostly No. 3 singles that spring. As a junior, he anchored No. 3 doubles with Colton Wood, and the duo earned All-North Suburban Conference honors.
"As he maneuvered through his junior year, I noticed he showed a competitive ideal that many others should strive to achieve," Edler said. "And it is one that guided him through his senior year and, I assume, will be with him for his life.
"Collin believes that every moment of a competition deserves maximum energy and effort. In order to show his teammates and his opponents and the sport that he is committed to each of them, he never wavers to be present in the moment and provide the maximum level of effort. He understands that the match he's playing or the conversation he's having with teammate or opponent or coach is the most important moment. His teammates see him as a leader."
In mid-August, Sorge, the middle child of Andy and Kris, heads off to the University of Illinois, where he plans to study civil and environmental engineering. He hopes to someday work with renewable energy or other ways to help the environment.
"It's just something I'm passionate about," said Sorge, who graduated high school with a 4.5 GPA (4.0 scale). "I thought it sounded very interesting, and there might be more opportunities in the future for it."
The positive thinker doesn't dwell on the negativity of a lost senior season.
"It was very unfortunate," Sorge said. "I think we all thought we were going to have a really good season and definitely a fun season with all of us in the senior class and juniors we had."
His coach wouldn't be surprised by that response.
"Collin was an ease to coach," Edler said. "He enthusiastically showed up for off-season conditioning, for open courts, for camp, for practice and for matches. He asked tough questions, but was so open to being coached."