BERKELEY SPRINGS — Berkeley Springs senior Haden Fincham, 17, is The Journal Player of the Year for Boys Tennis.
Fincham has been playing tennis since he was 8 years old. As a junior during the 2020-2021 season, and for a second time, he won the regional tournament and advanced to state competition. He came in second in the state final, falling to Nitro’s Morgan Mann in the No. 1 singles event in Class AA/A.
He has been succeeding since joining the team as a freshman.
Fincham won the Region I singles and doubles championships as a freshman and again last year as a junior. There was no sophomore season due to COVID-19.
He and teammate Jackson Heath advanced to the No. 1 doubles final, but they fell to a squad from Williamstown.
Fincham played various sports as a young boy, such as soccer, baseball, basketball and flag football. At 8, he saw an ad for a tennis clinic with Paula Osborne at a local church and signed up.
“I started playing just for fun, but as I got older, I got more competitive,” Fincham said.
Within a year, Osborne advised the boy to take further lessons. Two years later, he joined a program for youth at Stonebrook Racquet Club in Winchester. He kept moving up in skill level and reached a high performance player level when he was 13. By this time, he was already practicing with some of the Berkeley Springs players.
“Once I got to high school competition, I trained a lot more,” he said. “My freshman year, I made it to the semifinals in the AA state tournament and received the all-state award.”
He was undefeated in No. 1 singles matches during the 2021 regular season and was the winner of the Potomac Valley Conference championship.
He then went on to become the first state individual from Berkeley Springs to reach a state championship match.
“I was disappointed to lose my championship match, but after the tournament, I felt proud of my accomplishments,” Fincham said.
In 2019, the Berkeley Springs boys won the Class AA, Region I title, bringing home the regional title for the first time in program history.
“Everyone on the team is nice, and we’re all generally intelligent people,” Fincham said. “It’s a good place to find nice people and make friends out if it.”
He plays soccer and enjoys sports, but tennis gives him a different feeling of accomplishment.
“Tennis is a one-on-one sport,” he said. If I lose, it’s all on me; same thing if I win. I like trying to put the ball in places my opponent can’t get to and getting the feeling of winning.”
It’s also great exercise. He said tennis keeps him in good shape.
“Before the state tournament, I was playing daily,” he added. “In fall and winter before the season even started, I was out playing competitive matches about three times a week and doing training on the side.”
He plays in summer tournaments, often in the Keyser Open. Fincham was the men’s singles runner-up in 2019, and this July, he was the Keyser Open men’s singles champion, actually beating one of his long-time coaches for the title.
Fincham’s family are proud of him, and his dad Ryan became an assistant tennis coach.
“Haden works hard in the off season and during the season,” Ryan Fincham said. “The offseason work is what makes him a great player. He also helps others get better and coaches other players. Haden volunteered to start a middle school program this summer, and he coached 10 boys for eight weeks. I am also most proud of him for his academics, as a senior he has a GPA over a 4.0 average.”
Haden Fincham still has his senior campaign ahead in the spring of 2022, and he is working hard for a championship.
He said he’d like to continue playing after high school but hasn’t made a final decision.