Bruins tennis aim to continue winning streak at upcoming district championships

John Flanegin

Tennis Photo
Freshman John Swift returns a serve. Photo by: Anna Wright
The “Loeb Dynasty,” a nickname synonymous with the RBHS mens’ tennis team, is a worthwhile title as the Bruins’ winning history consists of the past 13 district titles and a state championship four out of the past six years. Much of the Bruins success has come under the direction of head coach Ben Loeb for the past 10 years.
“Last year a baseball player [Jansen Smith] used the moniker as a hashtag on Twitter,” senior Nate Horvit said, “it took off from there.”
But Loeb would rather the nickname refer to the team.
“I have never heard anyone refer to it as that. My preference is for them to refer to it as the Bruin Dynasty,” Loeb said. “It’s a ‘we’ thing for our team or any team to be successful.”
The Bruins, 14-1, have lived up to their title and haven’t disappointed with their only loss coming from Edwardsville, IL. After a dominating victory over the Hickman Kewpies April 24, the Bruins remain hungry for success.
The team has been helped by freshmen Brian Baker and John Swift. Swift was keen on playing a large role in the team this year after watching his brother, Billy play the past four years for the Bruins.
“ We [Swift and Baker] have not viewed it as we’re freshmen, and it’s harder for us because we are younger and not as experienced. We try to go out there and just play hard, and we expect to have a chance to win.”
Loeb thinks highly of both players and is excited about their future.
“I think they have both been a valuable part of our success this season. Brian Baker has come into his own. He is not only a student council rep but also a beast on the court,” Loeb said. “He has grown a lot in what he has delivered for our team during the season especially in doubles. Johnny Boy [John Swift] has made our team better. He has been willing to make some adjustments that have provided dividends for himself and the team. Now it’s their turn to be part of it, and they are both totally into it. I love that and more about them.”
The dynasty has earned the number one overall seed and takes on Camdenton, Smith-Cotton, Helias, Hickman and Jefferson City in the District 9 district tournament beginning May 12. After 14 years of success, the team will not settle for anything less than another championship.
“We’re undefeated in district play, so we’re confident going in to the tournament,” Horvit said. “There’s always a little something extra when we play our rivals so we’re excited for the challenge and ready to take care of business.”
Swift has been aided by the help of his older teammates. “Having three seniors on the team has helped a lot. They bring experience with them you just don’t have as a freshman,” Swift said.
Loeb knows the field of teams will be gunning for the Bruins just as he has in years past.
“I think Hickman will be our toughest opponent, though Jefferson City can’t be dismissed.” Loeb said.
Should the “Loeb Dynasty” 14-peat, they will move on to sectionals where a win would allow them to participate in the state tournament beginning May 29.
By: John Flanegin