Motivation typically tends to be a byproduct of some sort of setback or shortcoming.
In the case of Myrtle Beach tennis sophomore standout John Edward Cahill, all that is necessary is a simple glance at his grandfather, legendary Seahawks coach Rivers Lynch.
Though making an impact on a variety of sports ranging from boys and girls basketball and volleyball to baseball and track and field, his best work came on the tennis court.
Under Lynch’s tutelage, the Myrtle Beach girls tennis squad won eight titles in nine years between 1990-99, setting the table for further success under coaches Buddy Rogers and Jeri Himmelsbach. He would add three more trophies to his collection as boys tennis coach, leading the program to glory from 2007-09.
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Each time Cahill enters the Myrtle Beach Tennis Center, he is reminded of the Seahawks’ past glory, sparking visions of what would transpire if he and his teammates are able to add to the school’s trophy case.
“It would mean the world to me,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to win a state championship since I was young and a manager on the team. If we won a state championship, this entire place would go crazy … it would be so much fun.”
While that dream will have to wait another year, Cahill — the Seahawks’ No. 1 tennis player — proved the program may be well on its way. Compiling a 12-5 overall record — and more importantly, a 6-0 mark in Region VII-4A play — his effort was a key reason the team earned a league championship and advanced to the Lower State 4A semifinal round.
As a result of his work during the 2017 campaign, the Myrtle Beach sophomore has been named the Toast of the Coast boys tennis Player of the Year.
Despite being ecstatic about an individual achievement, Cahill’s focus swiftly shifted back to team accomplishments.
The season was definitely a step in the right direction from last season. ... We accomplished coming together as a team, cheering on everyone at the same time, coming together and getting more points towards a bigger win, and becoming a better team.
Myrtle Beach sophomore tennis player John Edward Cahill
“I would play a lot of seniors, but then we had seventh graders playing Nos. 3, 4 and 5 and No. 2 doubles, so they were always playing seniors or juniors,” he said. “And it was tough, but now they’ve learned and got their feet wet with the tennis season, they should have more maturity to know how hard it is to win, but know how good they are playing and beating older competition.”
According to Lynch, his grandson led by example.
“John Edward works very hard to better his game and is always a fighter on the court, winning many of his matches in third set tiebreakers,” the Seahawks boys tennis coach said.
In the opinion of Cahill, doing such isn’t all that difficult, considering who his grandfather is.
“It’s been fun (having my grandfather as a coach),” he said. “He doesn’t treat anyone different. He’s probably more hard on (me and my brother, Rivers) to be an example to the rest of the team.”
With Lynch’s retirement at the end of the 2017 boys tennis season, it marked the end of an era for Myrtle Beach tennis. Cahill and his teammates hoped to deliver a title to the longtime tennis coach, allowing him to ride off into the sunset.
Though unable to accomplish that goal, one of being able to join his grandfather in the echelon of champions at Myrtle Beach High remains.
“We’ve been chasing it, every year we’ve been getting closer,” Cahill said. “We had a heartbreaking loss to A.C. Flora over two days of tennis (in Lower State 4A semifinal). Hopefully, next year we have a great chance.”
This is the first installment in a 10-day series honoring the top athletes from the spring high school sports season. Friday: Boys golf
TOAST OF THE COAST BOYS TENNIS TEAM
Player of the Year
John Ed Cahill
School: Myrtle Beach
Notable: Finished 12-5 on the season and an a 6-0 mark in Region VII-4A competition, helping the Seahawks boys tennis team finish with a 15-3 overall record.
Notable: A 4-year varsity standout for the Braves, finished 19-1 for the season in leading the team to the Lower State 5A finals.
Notable: Finished 16-4 on the season as the Braves’ No. 3 player, helping the squad to a berth in the Lower State 5A finals.
School: Myrtle Beach
Notable: The Seahawks’ No. 2 singles player finished earned a 13-4 mark on the season, and a 6-0 record against Region VII-4A competition.
Notable: The Braves No. 2 singles player finished the season with a 15-4 mark, helping lead his team to a Lower State 5A final berth.
Bailey Morrow/Ryan Burch
School: Myrtle Beach
Notable: The Seahawks’ No. 2 doubles team finished with a 4-1 overall record and was undefeated in Region VII-4A competition.
Charles Cornell Hayes/Neal McDonald
School: North Myrtle Beach
Notable: The Chiefs’ No. 2 doubles team finished with a 12-2 mark on the season.
Coach of the Year
Notable: Led Socastee to a Region VI-5A title and a berth in the Lower State 5A final.