CORVALLIS — Max and Josh Nicolaus have proven over the years they have outstanding tennis skills.
The Marshfield twins also have outstanding conditioning, and that may have been the difference as they won their second straight Class 4A-3A-2A-1A doubles championship at Oregon State University on Saturday.
“It’s really great to repeat that state championship,” Josh said. “We were the only team in the tournament that had something to lose. We had our title to lose.
“We needed to prove it wasn’t just a fluke (last year). We needed to prove that we were the best team in 4A. I was really glad to do that.”
Just like when they won their first title as juniors last spring, they got stretched to three sets in the semifinals, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Oregon Episcopal’s Shilo Day and Tod To. When they got to the final, they rolled through Catlin Gabel’s Jake Girard and Will Silver 6-0, 6-4.
Josh said while the twins had a little pressure to repeat, it wasn’t a bad thing.
“It’s a good pressure being the best team,” he said. “Everybody wants to beat you. Everybody came to beat us.”
The Oregon Episcopal dual had momentum going into the 10-minute break after the second set, but the twins’ conditioning regiment, which includes training specifically on fitness several days a week, paid off.
“We had more energy than them after the second set,” Max said. “It was stressful at the end of the second set. We knew they had a lot of momentum. We had to get pumped up again like we were in the first set.”
During the break, while the Catlin Gabel pair rested, the twins stayed active.
“Max and I with our fitness, it’s better than a lot of teams,” Josh said. “We stayed warm during the 10-minute break. Our opponents looked a little tired. We were able to keep it going, keep the energy up.”
Just like last spring, the championship match was easier than the semifinals.
“The semifinals matches this year and last year were huge confidence boosters for sure,” Max said. “We were already pretty well warmed up when we got to the championship. We had hit a lot of balls. It was easier to get into a rhythm.”
In addition to their individual title, the twins earned the fourth-place team trophy for Marshfield.
The twins plan to attend Southwestern Oregon Community College for two years to earn their transfer degree. The Lakers don’t offer tennis, but they will keep training with their coach and dad, John, and keep up their fitness plan while playing as many regional tournaments as possible.
Their ultimate goal is to transfer to the University of Oregon and walk on to be part of the Ducks’ tennis team after their time at SWOCC.
In the meantime, they will graduate as Marshfield’s first doubles team to win not just one, but two state titles.
“It’s kind of unbelievable,” Max said. “If anyone told me that I was going to win two state championships freshman or sophomore year, I wouldn’t believe them.
“After sophomore year when got to quarterfinals, it came to mind if we worked hard, we would have a chance. We put everything we had into it and gave it a try and it worked out.”