Lake Central No. 1 singles player Thomas Lozanoski was forced to be a spectator on opening day against top-ranked Munster.
"I was one practice short of eligibility," Lozanoski said. "I missed some of the early practices because of my academic internship at Michigan State."
Lozanoski has more than made that up to his team. Since taking the court for the second match of the season, the senior has been a leading force for the Times No. 6 Indians (7-4, 3-3 Duneland Athletic Conference).
He is 9-6 this season, which includes victories at both the Crawfordsville and Lafayette Jefferson invites as well as tough losses to Leonard Mathews II (Merrillville) and Ben Kalisch (Valparaiso).
"It has definitely been a great learning experience playing No. 1 singles," Lozanoski said. "I learned a lot about the game last year at No. 1 doubles, and I have been able to bring a lot of those lessons to No. 1 singles."
Learning the different nuances of tennis has been a constant for the four-year varsity letterman. Lozanoski played No. 3 singles as a freshman, No. 1 singles as a sophomore and No. 1 doubles last year.
"The change from singles to doubles to singles again has actually been fun," he said. "Playing against the top player on the opposition is very different now that I am a senior. When I was a sophomore, I was always expected to lose. (It's) not the same now."
Learning is something that Lozanoski is always up for. His summer internship at MSU is a prime example.
As part of the L.C. science honors program, Lozanoski got to spend seven weeks working with lasers that created nanoparticles.
"It was a pretty cool experience," he said. "There was a lot of tough calculus, but I really liked the challenge."
Lozanoski carries a 4.63 (4.0) weighted grade point average, taking all of the honors and AP classes he qualifies for.
"I like to continually challenge myself," he said. "The tougher classes provide a great opportunity to learn."
Coach Eric Stark has been pleased with the way Lozanoski has embraced the challenge.
"I have eight seniors on this team," Stark said. "The way Thomas seamlessly moved was good for all of the seniors. His great attitude sent a message early in the summer and has helped make this a very cohesive team."
Stark also likes Lozanoski's work ethic.
"Thomas outworks everyone on the team," Stark said. "Sometimes seniors -- who are getting to the end -- tend to taper off a little bit. But Thomas works as hard as he ever has, and that rubs off on the rest of the team. Workouts have been great, and a big part of that is Thomas."