Not all partnerships work out, quite frankly.

Sometimes, even though intentions may be the best and the talents of the individuals forming the team would seem to signal sure success, the people involved just can’t make it happen. Something, be it chemistry or something more tangible, is just missing and the search to find it is simply not successful.

Palmyra tennis twins Aidan and Tyler Mahaffey wouldn’t know anything about that. The Mahaffeys have clicked from day one of their doubles partnership, which began at the high school level in the spring of 2021, their freshman season at Palmyra.

Back then, the brothers Mahaffey were precocious kids, barely teenagers, with huge, if not yet realized, potential.

Today, they are confident young men on the verge of adulthood on a quest to put a cherry on top of the pie that has been a wildly successful career as a doubles team for the Cougars.

Palmyra tennis twins Aidan and Tyler Mahaffey, fresh from their fourth consecutive District 3 Class 3A doubles championship, are set to chase their third straight 3A state championship at the PIAA Singles and Doubles Championships. (Provided photo)

Fresh off their fourth consecutive District 3 Class 3A doubles championship, seniors Mahaffey and Mahaffey will go after their third straight 3A state championship beginning Friday, when the PIAA Singles and Doubles Championships get underway at Hershey Racquet Club.

Their final appearance in the state tourney will commence at 10 a.m. Friday, when they’ll take on District 10 champs Noah Hardestry and Gridley Wright of Erie McDowell. If successful, Aidan and Tyler will move on to the quarterfinal round at 4 p.m. Friday. The semifinals are Saturday at 8 a.m., with the state championship match set for 1 p.m.

Tuesday afternoon, prior to a practice session at Hershey, Aidan and Tyler sat down with LebTown and reflected on their doubles accomplishments and their state tournament journey, which was halted for the first time with a quarterfinal loss that ended their freshman campaign, but has been followed by eight straight state tourney wins and back-to-back state titles since then.

Aiming for a third straight 3A state doubles win, Aidan and Tyler Mahaffey, Palmyra’s tennis twins, will compete at Hershey Racquet Club. (Provided photo)

Anyone for 12 straight and a three-peat?

“I think we’re just looking to end everything on a high note,” Aidan said Tuesday. “And just keep the level up and try to make it three in a row. I think that’s just been our goal all season.”

Well, that, and successfully defending their district crown for a third time two weeks ago, something the Mahaffeys did with apparent ease, culminating with a dominant 6-1, 6-2 victory over Dallastown’s Jacob Horn and Ian Opitz in the title match.

“It was definitely important,” Tyler said of the District 3 triumph. “I think we had high expectations heading in, but we had to go out and execute. We were happy to get our fourth one, for sure.”

Of course, their relationship as twin brothers plays a big role in the consistent on-court brilliance they’ve achieved. So too does the fact that they’ve been coached for the entirety of their careers – and their lives – by their parents, Abbie (head coach) and Keith Mahaffey (assistant), who have provided the boys with technical tennis guidance – both are former high-level junior players themselves – as well as parental support and encouragement.

“I think just the finality of it, just being the last season with us,” Tyler said of the significance of having their parents with them for their final high school tournament. “My parents started coaching 12, 13 years ago (at Palmyra) in anticipation of us coming through the program. So to see the culmination of that really makes it special, to have them by our side.”

But their familial and brotherly bonds are not the only reason for their on-court success. The Mahaffeys also fit together perfectly from a purely tennis standpoint.

Aidan is considered to be the steadier and more consistent member of the team, attributes he has used to his advantage as Palmyra’s No. 1 singles player for all four seasons, while Tyler is a bit more emotional and aggressive in his play.

In addition, Aidan is a left-hander, while Tyler plays right-handed, something that allows the two to maximize their physical capabilities as a unit.

That perfect fit as a team has also kept the two from ending their doubles partnership to pursue singles ambitions since PIAA rules prohibit players from competing in states in both singles and doubles.

Aidan has played No. 1 singles ahead of No. 2 Tyler all four years of his career and was named the Mid-Penn Conference Player of the Year a few weeks ago.

But Tyler is no slouch, something he proved by defeating Aidan for the Mid-Penn singles crown this season after losing to Aidan the previous two seasons.

“Sometimes you think about singles,” Aidan acknowledged. “But when you can accomplish greater success in doubles, I don’t really have any regrets about it.”

“We are both very good singles players,” Tyler said. “We both have good records and do well in our tournaments. But the ultimate strength comes from when we combine that and we are able to put our attributes together in a way a lot of doubles teams can’t do.”

The two will bring that commitment to each other to the college level next season. After considering going their separate ways after high school, the two have both opted to continue their educations at Lafayette College, where they will maintain their doubles partnership.

“I think we definitely did (consider it),” Aidan said. “I visited some schools without him and stuff like that, so we definitely did consider it. But we ended up considering our options and liked Lafayette the best.”

And not surprisingly, the two are ready to take on new challenges. But that doesn’t mean they’re in a hurry to leave behind all they accomplished at Palmyra.

And, of course, there is still some unfinished business to attend to.

“It’s a little nerve-racking,” Aidan admitted. “But you go out there, do what you can and not take anything for granted.”

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Pat Huggins covered local sports for the Lebanon Daily News for almost 25 years, beginning in January of 1999. Pat was born and raised in Lebanon County and is a 1987 graduate of Lebanon High School and a 1991 alum of Elizabethtown College. A huge Phillies and 76ers fan, Pat spends his spare time on...


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