ST. CHARLES – Sean Masoncup has spent multiple decades coaching and molding the next wave of local prep athletes.
Masoncup has coached tennis at St. Charles North for a combined 20 seasons, 15 with the boys and five with the girls. Now he is getting an opportunity to see it through another lens. Masoncup’s son, Tyler, is a freshman at Geneva working his way into the Vikings’ No. 1 doubles rotation with seniors Ryan Cedergren and Joe Adams.
“Being a coach as long as I’ve been – different sports – that when you have a kid come up, the experience is so much better when you have leaders and good kids,” Masoncup said. “Those kids have been, all of them at Geneva, every single one: They’re respectful [and] they’re competitive.”
On April 21, the varsity match between the Vikings and the North Stars presented a unique circumstance. Father coached against the opposing team – with his son donning that Geneva uniform.
Tyler Masoncup and Cedergren beat the North Stars’ No. 1 team of Noah Bajuk and Brady Barnes, 2-6, 6-1, 10-6.
“That, I think, is something to say for him,” Sean Masoncup said of his son. “That’s a bright spot where he’s going to be able to say for the rest of his life ‘Hey, I beat you as a freshman.’ … It was pretty surreal.”
“It was really fun for me [to compete against his team], but it was more exciting to have my teammates around,” Tyler Masoncup said. “Having [Cedergren] there is super fun for me to be playing with him in his last year and my first year. That overall aesthetic is really awesome.”
Like any freshman adjusting to varsity competition, Masoncup has had his ups and downs. Yet Geneva coach Ryan Barabasz said Masoncup has been “everything that we are hoping to continue to improve within the program.”
Barabasz, in his fourth year, has five returning varsity players and all have evidently embraced Masoncup. Barabasz has juggled Masoncup with either doubles partner a bit, but the competitive drive shines through whoever is next to him.
“The dynamic that this teams has, they enjoy being around each other,” Barabasz said. “Practices, they’re competitive. We’re trying to get better every day. I mean, he gets a ride home from his partner every day.
“Joe drives him; Ryan, they kind of took him in. Last week, we were supposed to play Glenbard North. We got there, warmed up, [and] it started raining. The willingness for [the team to have practice instead inside Norris Recreation Center]… they’re ready to play. I enjoy being around those types of players.”
How much Tyler Masoncup embraced tennis as one of his primary sports moving forward was up to him. He has some history to follow – but also has his own trail to blaze.
“My dad was always there to support me during my [United States Tennis Association] tournaments [growing up],” Tyler Masoncup said. “It’s been more on my own terms and what I wanted to do with it.”
“My grandpa and my dad both played Division I [tennis] at Western [Illinois University], so the fact that I had that experience behind me going into playing, it helped me to push myself and motivate myself to work harder and harder to get better at the sport.”
Sean Masoncup “can’t say enough” about Joe Adams, another Vikings captain, and Cedergren.
“They’re just phenomenal. [Tyler] has played with both of them now and they’re two great kids,” Masoncup said. “They come from great families. … I’ve known them both because I’ve coached against them, but now to see they drive him everywhere; they take him out to eat. It’s been a phenomenal experience for a freshman. Better than I ever could’ve asked.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle