A boy amongst men

Bay Roberts teenager earns spot on NL ta­ble ten­nis squad

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Bay Roberts’ Nick His­cock will be com­plet­ing a dream in a cou­ple of weeks when he suits up in the men’s di­vi­sion of the At­lantic Ta­ble Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships in Par­adise on May 9. His­cock has long been a force at the ju­nior level and will now look to leave his mark in the mens’ bracket.

When the At­lantic Ta­ble Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships kick off next month in Par­adise, it will be the com­ple­tion of a dream for Nick His­cock.

The 18-year-old Bay Roberts res­i­dent is set to rep­re­sent this prov­ince as a mem­ber of the men’s team for the first time.

“I’ve wanted to play on the men’s team and rep­re­sent my prov­ince for the last cou­ple of years,” said Nick. “At­lantics is what I wanted to play and I was fi­nally able to make the se­nior team.”

The prodi­gal ta­ble ten­nis player earned the right to re­al­ize his dream af­ter de­feat­ing fel­low Bay Roberts player Adam Drover in the fi­nal of the New­found­land Closed event. The victory marked the fi­nal step in achiev­ing his goal. In pre­vi­ous years, Nick has fin­ished third and reached the quar­ter­fi­nal and semi-fi­nal rounds be­fore fi­nally break­ing through this year.

Nick said “it feels per­fect” to win the tour­na­ment and be named the New­found­land cham­pion.

“This is prob­a­bly the third or fourth year that I’ve been say­ing that I’m go­ing to win it and I’ve come up a bit short,” he said. “I’d been edg­ing closer and I fig­ured this could be the year.” His­cock has com­peted at the Canada Games, in­ter­na­tional events and At­lantic cham­pi­onships in the past. He has been ranked as high as No. 1 in his age group amongst the At­lantic prov­inces.

The At­lantic tour­na­ment is set for May 9 and Nick is im­pa­tiently await­ing his first match.

“If it was hap­pen­ing to­mor­row, I’d be ready to play,” he said. “I re­mem­ber telling my dad in Septem­ber that I can’t wait un­til provin­cials get here and I want to play on the men’s team.

“Over the past year, I’ve been to the most tour­na­ments I’ve ever been to … and com­peted with play­ers I’ve never played be­fore. I’ve proven to my­self that I can step up to the chal­lenge and per­form for my team.” Play­ing his fa­ther Get­ting to the cham­pi­onship round meant a semi­fi­nal show­down with his fa­ther Jerry.

“It was tense,” said Nick. “I fig­ured who­ever won the first game would win the match.”

He was prophetic with that as­sess­ment, as Nick took a marathon first game 22-20 and went on to win the match.

Han­dling pres­sure

The pres­sure of com­pet­ing at the men’s level is some­thing Nick has been hear­ing about for quite a while. It is some­thing his dad told him to pre­pare for.

To his credit, Nick rec­og­nizes the pres­sure that comes with play­ing amongst men, but it is some­thing he has been do­ing for years.

“It’s go­ing to be a good chal­lenge,” he said.

Play­ing at the men’s level will un­doubt­edly be the high­light on May 9 when Nick has his first match. But, he doesn’t want to stop there.

“It’d be great to win on home soil,” he said.

Over the past year, I’ve been to the most tour­na­ments I’ve ever been to … and com­peted with play­ers I’ve never played be­fore. I’ve proven to my­self that I can step up to the chal­lenge and per­form for my team.

Nick His­cock

COMPASS FILE PHOTO

Nick His­cock will com­pete at the At­lantic Ta­ble Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships in Par­adise next month.

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