Known as one of his team’s vocal leaders
Some may think playing sports at the NCAA D3 level is smooth sailing.
Far from it, according to Sterling High graduate (Class of 2017) Corbin Hayes.
The junior at Concordia University in Austin wrapped up his second season with its tennis program which reached historic levels.
Hayes went 3-0 in singles – not losing a set – and finished 1-2 in doubles in limited action.
The former Ranger discovered quickly just how tough D3 sports truly are.
“We have a guy who plays for us who could easily be in a D1 program but decided to stay closer to home and play for us,” Hayes said. “We have another senior from the Netherlands who has already played college tennis and he has come down to play with us. D3 is no joke.”
Hayes admits that it took him a while to really figure out the competitive level at the D3 level while also maintaining the expectation of top academic success.
Hayes loved doubles as a high school player, but has seen how much tougher it is at this level of play.
“It took me a while to adapt to the quicker game play in doubles,” Hayes said. “I definitely feel I’ve moved my game up in that aspect.”
Concordia head coach Luke Helm said Hayes had a chance to play more, but the former Ranger sat out for a semester before returning.
“He has done a fantastic job of not being bothered by the fact we had a lot deeper roster and his role transitioned,” Helm said. “He offered us a lot of consistent energy and that’s a huge thing at college tennis matches. He was the one we could lean on in matches when things weren’t going the way we wanted to. He was really quick to get vocal and pick people up.”
Hayes has enjoyed his time playing for the team.
Concordia went 14-3 overall and 5-0 in American Southwest Conference play earning the top seed for the postseason tournament. There they fell in the final, 5-1 to Texas-Dallas and were denied a trip to the national tournament.
“We had the most wins the school ever had,” Hayes said. “So we are doing well. We took our defeat and it was upsetting, but we know we can be back and compete with these guys.”
June graduate Jacob Naiser of Sterling is down to Concordia so the two could potentially team up on the court.
“Jacob is a great guy and I am excited for him to come down and play with us,” Hayes said. “Him being left-handed it would work really well in doubles. It’s always a possibility.”