Two years ago, Isaac Massey was all set to begin his freshman season with the Bishop Ryan High School tennis team.
Massey had already earned the Lions' No. 1 singles spot when he learned there would be no season. Ryan was cutting the program.
"It stunk," Massey said. "It stunk a lot. I had put a lot of time into it in the summer getting lessons and buying new lessons and new shoes. You have all that ready and then a week, week and a half of practice and they come to you and say we're not having a season. That was a shock to the stomach."
Minot High School junior tennis player Isaac Massey returns a shot Tuesday dual against Bismarck High. Massey is the only MHS player that attends Bishop Ryan.
After receiving the news, Massey joined the Minot High team. He sat out his freshman year per North Dakota High School Activities Association rules but is currently enjoying a successful junior year.
Massey is the only Ryan student on the team. Of the six Bishop Ryan players when the program got shot down, one was a senior and four were juniors that decided not to play their senior seasons.
Massey said the transition to the Magicians wasn't difficult. He had played against most of them since seventh grade. With the switch, he'd no longer have to endure MHS-Ryan blowouts.
"Usually Minot High would kill us," he said. "We were so small so usually they whooped us pretty bad."
MHS coach Scott DeLorme said he first saw Massey play in one such dual. Massey lost his match against current sophomore Dustin Foster, but DeLorme said he saw potential in Massey right away.
"I remember thinking to myself he'd be a nice addition to our team," DeLorme said.
Massey has played mostly No. 4 for the Magicians this season, but has also played at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. He finished second in the No. 2 singles flight at the Minot Round Robin in August and also took second in the No. 4 singles flight at Saturday's West Fargo Boys Tennis Invite.
DeLorme said Foster and Massey will be the top two singles players for MHS next year. His teammates couldn't be more thankful to have him wearing maroon and gold.
"I'd rather have him on our team than play against him," senior Hunter Oothoudt said. "It just gives us a stronger team and helps us in the long run."