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Nick Shields and Creed Houghton from Trenton are the All-News-Press Now Boys Tennis Players of the Year.

Shields and Houghton made history when they became the first Trenton tennis players to represent the Bulldogs at back-to-back MSHSAA State Championship Tournaments in over 30 years.

Trenton tennis coach David Sager, who has coached Tennis at Trenton for 10 years, places the duo at the top of those he’s coached.

“I’ve had some really good doubles teams in the past but would have to rank Nick and Creed as the best I’ve had as a coach, just edging out Creed and his partner Kade Ockenfels from the year before.”

Shields and Houghton posted a 25-4 record as a doubles team in 2019, culminating in another state tournament appearance in 2019.

After Ockenfels graduated in 2018, Sager paired the two. Shields and Houghton committed to hard work in the offseason to establish the necessary chemistry for success.

Shields, a senior who recently graduated, expressed great pride in his tennis career at Trenton, but he wouldn’t rank his state tournament qualifications as his greatest accomplishment.

“My most significant accomplishment would be the 5-4 deciding win over Bishop LeBlond my sophomore year when I was at number one to send us to the state quarterfinals as a team,” Shields said.

He’d like to continue his tennis career at the next level, but he knows he might have to create that opportunity.

For now, he plans to attend North Central Missouri College in Trenton. NCMC does not have a tennis program.

His goal is to eventually earn a degree in actuarial science, but he hopes he can catch on with a school to play tennis after his time at NCMC.

Houghton, who also just finished his senior year, does not intend to continue his career as a tennis player, but he looks fondly on his time at Trenton.

“My greatest accomplishment is the first time I medaled at the state tournament last year.”

Houghton and Ockenfels medaled for the eighth-place finish in 2018 at MSHSAA Boys Tennis Tournament.

He intends to continue his education at Missouri Western where he will study conservation.

— Mike Loving