Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Webb School of Knoxville Wins Tennessee Division II Class A State Championship

The 2014 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships 11th place finisher, Webb School of Knoxville, won their fourth state team championship in five years last week. The Spartans 4-0 win over University School of Jackson capped off a 12-0 undefeated run in sub-state and state tournament play. 

Webb School of Knoxville used a dominant performance in the title match to claim the state championship. Lorenzo Rollhauser's 6-3, 6-3 victory at No. 1 Singles was the closest individual match of the championship. The remaining Spartans won their championship matches in straight set including wins by Thomas Loaiza (No. 2 Singles), Rajeev Jarhav (No. 4 Singles), and Nathan Feaster (No. 5 Singles). 

The Spartans then swept the Tennessee Division II Class A Singles State Championship with Lorenzo Rollhauser defeating teammate Thomas Loaiza 6-0, 6-4 in the championship. The doubles teams of Preston Yoon & Rajeev Jadhau and Gabi Dagotto & Nathan Feaster each advanced to the semi-finals of the Doubles State Championship.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Baylor Wins Tennessee Division II Class AA State Championship

Baylor School added another title to their list of accomplishments of their senior class this week. The Red Raiders, who had an unprecedented run at the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships over the past four years finishing 14-1 and claiming three championships, won their fourth straight Tennessee Division II-AA State Championship this week. Tears of joy flowed for the Baylor girls as they swept rival Girls Preparatory School 4-0. 

The Red Raiders got off to a great start winning the doubles point with victory from the senior duos of Samantha Caswell & McCall Morgan and Harper Caswell-Maggie Crumbliss. "We were definitely out to get GPS in doubles today," senior Maggie Crumbliss said. "We played well and left it all out on the court; it was our last team match and we tried as hard as we could. I remember saying I wanted to win four when we were freshmen, and it's a good feeling to accomplish that." The No. 3 doubles team of Grace Petty and Drew Hawkins had their match called at 7-2 once the doubles point was clinched. Baylor got singles wins by sisters Samantha and Harper Caswell at No. 1 and No. 2 singles to take a 3-0 lead. It was freshman Drew Hawkins that clinched the title for the Red Raiders with her 6-0 6-1 victory. 

"It was a very emotional day. Today culminated five years of nonstop hard work and focus, and it's come to an end," Baylor coach Dustin Kane said. "It's hard not to be emotional about that, but the girls played unbelievable -- it was one of the best matches we've ever played. To go out and perform at the highest level they could perform at, which they did, is a great way to go out, and they deserve every bit of it."

The state runner-up Girls Preparatory School was also a participant of the 2014 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships finishing in 6th place. GPS coach Sue Bartlett loses three seniors but is real excited about an eighth-grade class coming in. Bartlett said "Baylor was really sharp today, it was hard for us to find a chink in their armor. I thought they played really well and didn't let us get in, which puts a lot of pressure on singles, but we played well at several positions. They just played well and deserve to win."

Huntington Dominates West Virginia Class AAA State Championship

For the Huntington High School girls the state tournament meant a chance to make history. The Highlanders, who finished in 8th place the 2015 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships, had their ups and downs throughout the season with senior leader Cassie Mercer nursing a wrist injury. Over the weekend Huntington finally had all the pieces in place and completed their historic run marking the first time in Class AAA girls tennis history that a team has gone undefeated throughout the entire tournament and securing their fourth straight state championship.

Virginia signee Cassie Mercer, who was not able to play in the DecoTurf Championships due to her injury, claimed her fourth straight Single State Championship with a 6-0, 6-0 victory at teamed with senior Kate Huck to claimed the No. 1 doubles State Championship. Huck, who also won the No. 2 Singles championship said ""It's amazing, especially for me, because my freshman year, we won every spot except for my second doubles, that was the only spot we lost that year, so I'm really happy because we were that close my freshman year but we got it this year." Freshman Ava Ratcliff showed promise for the future of the program with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 3 Singles and Rachele Subik claimed the No. 4 singles title. The duo of Ratcliff & Subik paired to win the No. 2 singles title. With history on the line the No. 3 doubles tandem of Leah Simon and Nicole Oliashirazi closed out the historic year with the team's seventh title.

Ratcliff who will return as the top player for the Highlanders next year said "We lose half our team and I know there are big shoes to fill, I want to win my slot all four years."

George Washington Wins West Virginia Class AAA State Championship

George Washington, 2014 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships Boys B Division Champion, claimed their second straight West Virginia Class AAA State Championships over the weekend. “It was challenging, very challenging,” said George Washington coach Chris Luckett. The title was the 16th all-time for the Patriots.

George Washington, who was up just one point after the first day of play, battled their way to the top despite having to withdraw from the No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles draws after senior Zack Koenig suffered severe dehydration during his singles semifinal. The Patriots dominated the remaining draw claiming state titles at No. 3 singles, by Nick Koenig, and a pair of doubles state titles by Nick Koenig & Thomas McIntosh and Ryan Mullins and Brent Horswell. The Patriots also got state runner-up honors by Furman signee Ryan Massinople at No. 1 singles and Chip Sweeney at No. 4 singles. 

Patriots Coach Chris Luckett said, “They know how to win big points. These kids have been playing since they were 4 years old, probably. When they’re playing that much tennis and they’re all best friends, that makes it easier in communicating and working in a doubles match.”

Fellow DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championship participant, Huntington, finished as State Runner-up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sixteen Former Players Named High School Tennis All Americans

Each spring the top 40 boys and top 40 girls in the country are honored as National High School Tennis All Americans by the National High School Tennis All-American Foundation. In 2014 a tournament record sixteen former participants received this honor. Eight players who participated in the 2014 tournament were among this year's honorees including Co-Most Valuable Players Martin Joyce and Michael Lorenzini. Former girls all tournament team selections Olivia Thaler and Cassie Mercer were selected for the second straight season. Five of the boys' selections, including Martin Joyce, Robert Kelly, Baker Newman, Chase Perez-Blanco and Walker Sims, were selected for the second straight year.

To be eligible to receive consideration as an All-American tennis player a student/athlete must maintain an above average academic and citizenship record, compete on a high school tennis team, and garner an individual national ranking. Among the elite group of student/athletes honored in the past as tennis All-Americans are many current and former professional tennis players, including Pete Sampras, Todd Martin, Kimberly Po, Aaron Krickstein, Jeff Tarango, Taylor Dent and Sam Querrey. All decisions for All-American honors are researched and authorized by a panel of eight (8) National District Chairmen who are highly respected high school coaches. For more information of the NHSTAAF click here.


Samantha Caswell • Baylor School • Chattanooga, TN

Anna Feaster • Webb School of Knoxville • Knoxville, TN

Allegra Hanlon • Ransom Everglades • Miami, FL

Cassie Mercer • Huntington • Huntington, WV

Olivia Thaler • Gulliver Prep • Pinecrest, FL


Martin Joyce • Hinsdale Central • Hinsdale, IL

Robert Kelly • Cardinal Gibbons • Raleigh, NC

Brandon Lancaster • Saint Xavier • Louisville, KY

Michael Lorenzini • Hinsdale Central • Hinsdale, IL

Ryan Massinople • George Washington • Charleston, WV

Baker Newman • Gulliver Prep • Pinecrest, FL

Chase Perez-Blanco • Gulliver Prep • Pinecrest, FL

Oliver Sec • Beacon • New York, NY

Walker Sims • Memphis University School • Memphis, TN

Hunter Tubert • Huntington • Huntington, WV

Ziqi Wang • Vestavia Hills • Vestavia Hills, AL

Spartanburg Wins South Carolina Class 4A State Championship

Spartanburg, who finished seventh at the 2015 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championship, claimed their first state title in school history over the weekend. Despite a lineup that included a sophomore, four freshmen, an eighth grader and a seventh grader the Vikings outscored their opponents 29-1 in route to the South Carolina Class 4A State Championship. The state title capped a perfect 21-0 season against in-state competition.

Spartanburg's championship victory was a landslide with the Vikings rolling 6-0. The Vikings got a key win by Spencer Brown at No. 1 singles. Following his victory Brown said “Coming down here I felt really good about playing them even though they were the defending state champions from last year, we felt really good coming out here. The team was just pumped.” Freshman Chambers Easterling clinched the title with his 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles. The Vikings also got wins by Noah Nawabi, Omar Williams and Bryce Keim. Arpit Maini and Phillip Jordan earned an 8-3 victory in No. 2 doubles for Spartanburg.

The Vikings who appear to have started a dynasty with every member of their state championship squad returning next year. Coach Todd Seagle said "“It’s just the luck of the draw I guess, I’ve got at least two more seventh graders next year that could possibly put a dent in the lineup as well. We’ve got a lot of talent, a lot of youth. It could be several years in a row is what we’re hoping.”

Spartanburg added to the hardware with freshman Spencer Brown advancing to the championship match of South Carolina Class AAAA/AAA Singles State Championship before falling 6-0, 6-1. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Saint Xavier Sweeps Kentucky State Championships

The Saint Xavier Tigers success in high school tennis in Kentucky is unmatched, but the Tigers completed a rare feat when they captured their sixth consecutive and 23rd overall state team championship this year. For just the fifth time in state history Saint Xavier won the team championship, singles championship and doubles championship in the same year. 

"That's something we've been shooting for the last couple of years, and unfortunately we didn't get it last year," Lancaster said. "It was pretty nice to get it this year."

The Tigers, who finished as runner-up at the 2014 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships, outscored their opponents 12-0 in team state tournament play. Saint X opened their State Championship match against McCracken County with a 1-0 behind freshman Drew Singerman's win at No. 2 singles. Tiger seniors Coleman Cox and Nick Quinones gave the team a 2-0 lead with their 6-3, 6-0 victory and junior Nick Waldeck's 6-2, 6-1 win clinched the state title for Saint Xavier. 

"I've closed out a lot of matches but not one for the state championship, so it was a little bit extra meaning," Waldeck said. "I enjoyed that. It's been a long day, so it's good to put an end to it."

The Tigers overall sweep came one day later as the Tigers top player, junior Brandon Lancaster, won the Kentucky Singles State Championship avenging a loss from the 2013 state finals. Lancaster said "I just started going for more of my shots and decided that if I'm going to lose it's going to be on my terms, shots went in." The Kentucky Doubles State Championship featured a matchup of Saint Xavier Doubles teams with seniors Coleman Cox and Nick Quinones taking on Matt Graft and Nick Waldeck. The battle was especially tough for coach Kerry Lancaster who watched the doubles final from the grandstand, not wanting to choose sides on the court during the match. The duo of Graft and Waldeck eventually prevailed with an emotional 6-4, 4-6, 10-8 win. 

Cardinal Gibbons Wins North Carolina Class 3A State Championship

Cardinal Gibbons capped off their season over the weekend with a 25-4 record and a fourth consecutive North Carolina Class 3A State Championship. The Crusaders, who finished the 2014 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships in 13th place, also captured individual singles and doubles state championships. Cardinal Gibbons, who outscored their opponents 39-0 in state tournament play, also completed the sweep of state titles in 2013.

Cardinal Gibbons was led by University of North Carolina signee, Robert Kelly, who was named Most Valuable Player of the Championship match after his 6-2, 6-4 victory at No.1 singles. Kelly was one of six Crusaders that swept their singles matches in straight sets to clinch the title with a 6-0 win. The doubles matches were not played because the outcome of the match was already decided. Cardinal Gibbons also got wins from Matt Galush, Jim Mantyh, Brody Chapman, Kyler Zadell and Kyle Fitzgerald.

Earlier in the week Cardinal Gibbons Robert Kelly captured his second straight North Carolina Class 3A Singles State Championships with a 6-3, 6-2 victory. Kelly who had to finish the match with a teammates racket after breaking strings on both of his rackets said “It’s always fun to represent your school like this, there’s pressure to repeat, so it feels good to come out here and close it out the way I did.” The Crusaders also took home hardware in doubles as Matt Galush and Noah Constantine defended their Doubles State Championship in an all-Cardinal Gibbons finale against Jim Mantyh and Kyle Fitzgerald.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Walton Wins Georgia Class 6A State Championship

The Walton High School Girls Tennis Team claimed their 10th State Championship in the past 11 years over the weekend. The Raiders outscored their opponents 16-1 in route to their second straight state title. 

Walton, who finished in third place at the 2014 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships, did not drop a single match until the championship of the Class 6A State Tournament against Alpharetta. Junior Bella Kuse lost a heartbreaking 3-6, 6-4, 1-6 match at No. 1 Singles but the Raiders rolled from their sweeping the remaining matches. Walton's wins came at No. 3 singles by Johanna Keeline and at No. 2 doubles by Emily Gaskins and Grace Gaskins. Walton's Suzanne Zenoni clinched the match with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 victory at at No. 2 singles.

“I like to play under pressure,” Zenoni said. “When she got tired it picked me up and made me want to compete even more.”

“They really grew as a team, they came together and supported each other and played solid tennis.”” said Walton coach Christy Page.

Walton, who returns five of the seven players off the squad that claimed the state title, has committed to return to the 2015 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships.