Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sports Person of the Week

Malchiodi Makes a Great Debut as a Freshman

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Mason Malchiodi made an instant impact with the Westbrook boys’ tennis team this spring. As a freshman, Mason and senior partner Ben Schreck played to a mark of 13-3 at the No. 2 doubles spot. Photo courtesy of Mason Malchiodi

Mason Malchiodi made an instant impact with the Westbrook boys’ tennis team this spring. As a freshman, Mason and senior partner Ben Schreck played to a mark of 13-3 at the No. 2 doubles spot. (Photo courtesy of Mason Malchiodi )

In his first season as a member of the Westbrook boys’ tennis team, Mason Malchiodi proved that he can step into a new athletic endeavor and see success. Following his solid freshman year, Mason is on the right path to be swinging a steady racquet for the Knights for years to come.

Mason grew up with soccer as his main sport, before a few of his friends convinced him to sign up for the Westbrook freshman basketball team. One of the Knights’ assistant coaches is Dan Shapiro, who is also the head coach for the boys’ tennis squad.

Shapiro encouraged Mason to give tennis a shot and then paired him up with senior Ben Schreck at the No. 2 doubles position this spring. The duo saw instant success by posting an impressive record of 13-3 during Mason’s debut campaign.

“A lot of my success came from me being naturally athletic, and I owe a lot to Coach Shapiro, as well,” says Mason. “I played a couple of times previously, but not much at all before this year, and so Coach Shapiro taught me well.”

Mason benefited from working alongside a senior veteran on the court as a freshman. Mason says that Schreck provided a great system of support for him this season.

“Ben and I worked really well together this year,” Mason says. “When I served, he showed he could get the ball at the net. Coach Shapiro really helped us out, and I trusted in both myself and Ben.”

Mason got a fast education about the right way to play the doubles game. He learned that mental fortitude is just as important as physical skill when you’re grinding it out between the baselines.

“It’s important to be strategic. With doubles, it is really team based and you have that teammate to rely on,” says Mason. “The mental aspect of the game is also about knowing and trusting your partner. You also have to know where to go and where to hit the ball.”

Coach Shapiro notes that he and Mason bore a budding friendship throughout their time on the basketball court this winter. Shapiro believes that Mason has a great upside on the tennis court and describes him as a dedicated player who is well-respected by his teammates.

“I think the experience in basketball gave Mason some confidence, and we had developed a good relationship,” Coach Shapiro says. “From day one, Mason set the goal of making the varsity team, and his point at No. 2 doubles was critical in many of the team’s important wins. He is only going to get better as time passes. He is getting physically stronger and mentally tougher. He has a strong will to improve, and I’m excited to see him develop. Everyone on the team loves Mason. He’s fun to be around, keeps everyone smiling, and plays hard.”

Going forward, Mason wants to be a contributor on teams that take home some hardware at season’s end. He’s also looking to continue climbing the rungs on his own personal ladder of goals during the next three years.

“I will definitely keep playing the sport. It’s super fun, and I love the team and coach,” says Mason. “I want to improve a lot, because I know I can get better. For the team, we definitely want to win the Shoreline Conference title.”


John Lecardo covers sports for Guilford, Madison, and Haddam-Killingworth for Zip06. Email John at j.lecardo@shorepublishing.com.

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