By Kyle Daubs

It’s not been an easy road for Josh Ramage.

In a year, Ramage lost last year’s season to COVID-19 and then suffered a stress fracture in his left leg, which kept him from playing tennis throughout last summer. With rest, Ramage was able to heal physically.

Heading into the Effingham Class 1A Sectional, the doubles team of Ramage and Pierce Farmer were ranked No. 3. 

Ramage and Farmer lost only one set en route to winning the tournament’s doubles championship.

“Going to state is huge; it’s a great way for us to finish up a solid season,” said Ramage. “It’s so exciting to play in Chicago after not playing at all last year. The highlight of our season is winning sectionals. We played some very good teams but managed to stay ahead of our opponents.”

Farmer and Ramage beat teams from Flora and Teutopolis in the opening rounds. Moving into the Saturday round, the duo defeated two top-ranked Olney teams to earn a state berth. 

“Playing with Pierce works so well because he covers the net so well,” said Ramage. “I can return a shot from the baseline and Pierce is always there to crush it back on their side. He also keeps it in play very well. We are hoping to last until the second day of the tournament. There will be many talented teams, but we just need to focus and reduce our unforced errors.”

Ramage and Farmer will play Sam Walker and Regan Linde out of Ottawa High School, which finished fourth overall at the Ottawa Sectional.

Coach Joey Boyer believes that the two have a great shot of advancing to the second day of competition because of all the hard work they have put into the season.

“I would say that Josh and Pierce’s success comes from the great work ethic and commitment to their sport,” said Boyer. “We talk about the importance of offseason work and both of these boys have put in the work every year. They are both excellent leaders on our team. Pierce is our verbal leader and Josh leads by example. Lastly, they are great friends and that connection helps them excel on the tennis court. We are very proud of them and they will be missed next year.”