Moran has led Tigers in more ways than one
By Will Vandervort
CLEMSON — When Yannick Maden drilled a forehand winner down the line against Virginia Tech’s Luka Somen in Saturday’s match at the Hoke
Sloan Tennis Center, his Clemson teammate Wesley Moran ran over to Maden’s brother, Dominique, and bear hugged him.
A few moments later, when Maden won a point to fight off a fifth match point from Somen, Moran yelled, “Let’s go, Tigers!”
“That’s Wes,” Clemson Head Coach Chuck McCuen said. “That’s the amazing thing about him. Wes is the unsung hero of our team. He is the loudest guy on the team. He is the best competitor on and off the court. He does it in the classroom. He does it with his cheering and his support, and he brings it to every practice.”
Moran, who was honored prior to Saturday’s match as the lone senior on Senior Day, has not always been the so-called “cheerleader” of the team. Two years ago, he was a full-time player in the singles lineup as he played in 30 matches as a sophomore.
In the last two years, however, he has fallen back as younger players like the Maden brothers, Gerardo Meza, Ayrton Wibowo, Zachary Rigsby and Hunter Harrington unseated him as they rose through the lineup. Last year, Moran’s match totals in singles play dropped to 14, and this year it has fallen to four.
In most cases, falling out of the lineup might cause a player like Moran to leave a program so he can play full time somewhere else.
But that is where Moran’s leadership and maturity comes into play. He understands playing Division I college tennis is not child’s play. He understands his coaches are making decisions that are in the best interest of the team.
If that means he has to sit out the singles part of matches, then so be it. Moran does not take it personally.
“I love my teammates,” the senior from Murrells Inlet, SC said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win. First and foremost, I am going to go out there and do whatever I can to win the number-three doubles spot. Then, whatever they need, whether it is cheering or lending a little pick-me-up on the court, I’m happy to do it.”
McCuen says Moran’s attitude has shown the rest of the team what it takes to be successful at the Division I level. Clemson has made big strides in 2012, as it has already won four matches inside ACC play for the first time since 2007 while also taking top-level teams like Virginia, North Carolina and Duke to the limit in several singles matches.
“It feels good to know that those guys are going out there and are being successful,” Moran said. “I think this is going to be a great team in the future. We are really moving up. We have improved in each and every season, and we are improving with every match that we play.”
And that all points back to Moran, who took on the challenge McCuen offered up at the end of last year and ran with it.
“He wants to be a lawyer, and he is very academically inclined,” McCuen said. “He is already looking towards his next career away from tennis. It is easy for a player at that point to withdraw energy, so we challenged him, and he challenged himself. What I’m most proud of (is) he ran to that challenge. He did not run away from it.
“He is an amazing person.”