MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Max Wimmer admitted the emotions were getting the best of him. Good thing he recovered in time during doubles play to refocus en route to No. 2 Barry men's tennis team's 8-1 win over NAIA No. 26 St. Thomas Thursday.
Wimmer, who along with fellow German-born senior Marco Mokrzycki was honored on Senior Day at Buccaneer Tennis Center, confessed the days of his over-the-waist shorts look took a backseat, if only for a few moments, to his day of recognition.
"I had more problems in doubles because it was closer to the ceremony," Wimmer said. "At first, it was a little emotional, but after a while we just played better."
Wimmer and Ollie Lemaitre rallied from a 3-2 deficit to win the next six straight games to beat St. Thomas' Grover Ordonez and Ariel Listo, 8-3, at No. 2 doubles. Wimmer and Lemaitre broke their Bobcats counterparts three times during the match to win going away.
"I was not focused at first," Wimmer admitted. "But then our serve and volleys got better, and we were stronger and more accurate with our returns. We just stepped it up."
Mokrzycki and Fabian Groetsch, ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II, beat Nicolas Etienne and Arturo Romero, 8-1, at No. 1. Barry's Romain Costamagna and Leo Vivas defeated Josh Rosner and Esteban Serrano, 8-1, at No. 3.
"I wasn't really affected emotionally," Mokrzycki said after he and Groetsch improved to 14-2 in pairs play this year. "I was thinking about the matches I've played at Barry. I realized that this is the last regular season match that I'll play here, and I was a little bit sad. It's sad to leave. But it didn't affect my tennis."
Not after he strung together a pair of solidly executable sets to beat Etienne, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 1 singles. It improved the multi All-American recipient and No. 4-ranked player in the country's record to 11-2 this year.
"Looking now in retrospect, it's awesome that I've had so many great matches and was able to perform well in those matches," Mokrzycki said. "You're not really looking backwards, but you're looking forward to the next match."
Ranked No. 22 in the country, Wimmer also won his No. 2 singles match, 6-2, 6-2, over Ordonez.
"In singles, it's easier to get focused," Wimmer said. "In doubles, you have to react quicker, you have to be right there at the beginning. In singles, it was a good start and a good finish."
It was a flawless start and finish for Bucs sophomore Kevin Sielmann, who rolled over Listo in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5. Groetsch, carrying the No. 19 singles ranking, beat Romero, 6-2, 6-0, in convincing fashion at No. 3. Barry's Renato Lombardi had his way with Serrano, winning 6-1, 6-3, at No. 4. St. Thomas' Esteban Serrano won an extended battle at No. 6, beating Dominic Bisceglia, 6-3, 5-7, 10-6.
But in the end, this day was reserved for a team that continues to write its own history -- the 21-0 regular season record the best in school history -- and two seniors who've given so much to this program over the last four to five years. Both Wimmer and Mokrzycki were members of the 2010 NCAA Championship team.
"I think they're going to be missed very much, not just because they've contributed outstandingly on the court, but also because they've contributed to the chemistry of the team and as leaders," Barry 23-year tennis coach George Samuel said. "I think they're leadership for the newer players has been extremely instrumental for this team. They've provided such valuable leadership and experience for the guys on the team that I think the younger guys see that, and it will help them in the future. Then the next generation has to come in and step up.
"I can tell you we'll have to look very hard to find players as talented as Marco and Max. They're kind of the last of the Mohicans, so to speak, from our national championship team. It's always good to have some members to know what it's like to win a national championship.
"I think they're just as highly motivated this year in their senior year as they were when we won it in 2010. I think that intensity is still as fierce. I think they want to go out with a bang, and we would like that for them and for us in 2013."
Looking back, 2013 seems so distant from where the journey started for Mokrzycki and Wimmer. But the memories and bonds they've formed far outweigh any bumps along the way.
"You go through the five years, and Coach was also emotional ... " Wimmer began. "I went through a lot of injuries in the five years, but it's been a really good experience. I made a lot of friends, my old teammates I'm still talking to, especially the ones from the championship team. I think that's going to continue for the rest of our lives."
Mokrzycki the seemingly always stable-minded staple on this team, even in defeat, has lasting memories of his Buccaneer days in Red and Black, too. But like Wimmer, it's the people he's formed bonds with who define his time in Miami Shores.
"The thing that remains most in my memory is the guys I've played with, the people I've met and the teams I've played for. The team chemistry has been extremely good for the last four years. I'm pretty sure, even though I'm graduating, I will keep in contact with them."
Of course, all of that is for days that lie ahead in years to come. But both Wimmer and Mokrzycki agree, the time for this Buccaneer team is here and now.
"This is just the beginning, actually," Mokrzycki said. "The most important part is coming."
"We've worked really hard when the season started," Wimmer said. "Everybody realized that we have a chance to do something special. Now we have to achieve it. Now the hard work starts."
NET NOTES: Marco Mokrzycki will complete his undergraduate degree from Bary in finance May 4. He has a 3.413 cumulative grade point average ... Mokrzycki had a 3.62 GPA in the fall ... Max Wimmer received his undergraduate degree last year, finishing with a 3.112 in business marketing ... He is currently pursuing a master's degree in business administration.