Snarr makes steady progression for Central tennis

Central's Sam Snarr follows through with a forehand against Skyline last year in Front Royal. Snarr, a senior, will be one of Central's top players this season. Rich Cooley/Daily file

WOODSTOCK – Sam Snarr has made a solid, steady progression for Central’s boys tennis team.

As he has moved up the singles ladder each season, the senior’s game has also steadily improved. Snarr will be one of the leaders on the team this season as he plays at one of the top two spots. There was a void that needed to be filled with the graduation of Sam Barbour and Bobby Loveland, who played at the top two spots the last two years.

“He should be proud of himself for moving up,” Central coach Luke Robinson said. “I’ve noticed this year so far he’s worked harder than he has in the past couple years. I think some of that’s maturity. I think some of that’s just since Sam (Barbour) and Bobby (Loveland) were gone he realized he needed to step up and be a leader.”

Snarr said he used to just play recreationally for fun with his family, and then before his freshman year he decided to give up baseball and play tennis at Central instead.

Snarr had a role model in the family to look up to as his cousin, Derek, was a standout player at Central and advanced to the state tournament during his career there.

“I remember I kind of looked back in the yearbook, one of the old ones at our house, and I saw him playing tennis. I thought, ‘I can see myself doing that,'” Snarr said. “So I went and tried, and I actually hit with him before the season started (freshman year). And I think that’s what made me play.”

Snarr played at No. 6 singles during his freshman year and said that it was a great experience, and playing with a lot of seniors made that season even more special.

“That was kind of intimidating, because it was a predominantly senior team,” Snarr said. “It was all seniors except for me and a couple other kids. The seniors were really welcoming and they were really outgoing and that helped. They really helped us a lot. They made practice really fun, but at the same time you learned a lot.”

Snarr said that he learned more and his game grew more in his freshman year than in any other year.

“At the beginning of the season I was OK because I played before, but I was still a pretty poor player in the sense that I had no experience (at the high school level),” Snarr said. “But by the end of the season I had gotten so much better, and I think that was definitely the most monumental year, because I definitely changed the most.”

Snarr moved up to the No. 4 singles position in his sophomore year, and then to the No. 3 singles position last year.

One of the big highlights for Snarr last year was playing in the Conference 28 individual singles tournament. Normally, the top player from each team plays in the tournament, but both Barbour and Loveland were suspended on the day of the tournament and were not available so Snarr had to take their spot.

Snarr lost 6-0, 6-0 to Skyline’s Stefano Trentini, who was an exchange student from Italy. Snarr said it was a great experience that actually helped his game.

“He definitely exploited my weaknesses, which also exposed them,” Snarr said of the match. “That was right at the end of the season, so I knew right there what I needed to work on. What he did was, I think, good for my overall game.”

Snarr said he realized that he needed to improve his backhand and his serve, and feels he has done both in the offseason.

Robinson agreed, and said that Snarr also got a real boost from a win that he had late in the season. Snarr defeated Rock Ridge’s Daniel Le, 6-2, 6-4 in the Conference 28 semifinals to help give the Falcons a regional berth.

“It was a big confidence booster for him, because he saw that he can win,” Robinson said. “During that whole match I stayed on him and stayed on him. I was like, ‘You’re going to win this thing.’ I didn’t think he was at first, because that guy’s good, but he got in his head. So he ended up winning.”

Snarr also secured a big win in doubles that day along with Aaron Taff at the No. 2 doubles position.

Snarr and Taff will be battling for the top spot on the team in singles this season. Snarr said he wants to be at No. 1, but if he doesn’t get it he’ll be happy to be No. 2 and help the team.

He said he believes the team will have a very good season.

“I think our team’s going to be good no matter what,” Snarr said. “I think a good goal for our team would be to just have a solid one-through-six, because I know we’re going to have some new people in the fifth and sixth spots possibly. …We have close to 12 people on the team, so we’ll have essentially a whole nother six. So it will be good to see them develop within themselves — that’s ultimately what we need to see. They need to get better because they’re going to be the ones fighting for the three, four, five spots next year.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com