Local Players Spicing Up College Lineups
By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer
The college tennis spring season has been moving full speed ahead since mid-January – even if spring hasn’t exactly sprung yet – and several Richmonders are at the forefront of their teams’ efforts so far.
Former Collegiate star Max Schnur has helped Columbia University get off to a 10-1 start and rise as high as No. 20 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I rankings before the Lions dropped back to 27th in the most recent list.
Schnur is 5-3 playing mostly No. 4 singles for the Lions and 4-2 at doubles with Ashok Narayana at the No. 1 spot. The duo is ranked No. 16 nationally in doubles. Columbia’s only loss was to 16th ranked Georgia 4-2 in Athens.
Another Ivy League scholar is Emily Hahn, who is playing as high as No. 2 singles for the Princeton Tigers with an 8-2 record in dual matches. Hahn, a sophomore, played one year at Douglas Freeman High School before going to the Nick Saviano Tennis Academy in Florida.
Princeton was 8-3 – with a five-match winning streak – heading into a tough, three-game road trip that includes Ohio State and Miami.
Meanwhile, Mary Washington has jumped out to a 7-2 start, thanks in part to Tyler Carey (Cosby) and Evan Charles (Deep Run), a pair of juniors at the top of the Eagles’ singles lineup. Carey currently plays No. 1 singles and Charles No. 2.
The Richmonders also form the No. 1 doubles tandem. Charles has played some at No. 1 singles, too. The Eagles are ranked 17th in the latest ITA Division III poll and knocked off No. 7 Cal Lutheran 6-3 last week before losing close matches to No. 16 Pomona-Pitzer 5-4 and No. 13 Redlands 5-4 during their West Coast swing.
In Blacksburg, former Deep Run standout Hunter Koontz has more than done his part to help Virginia Tech start off 7-4. Playing No. 3 singles for the Hokies, the junior is 8-2, and 5-1 at No. 1 doubles with partner Andreas Bjerrehus.
The Hokies are 1-1 in ACC matches, having beaten Boston College and narrowly dropping a 4-3 decision to sixth-ranked Notre Dame on Feb. 28 in South Bend. Tech will be on the road for its next four matches, including a West Coast swing to Washington and Boise State.
Former Mills Godwin standout Michael Holt has led Washington and Lee to a 7-1 record and No. 22 Division III national ranking. The sophomore has played at the top of the singles lineup (Nos. 1 and 2) while teaming with Taylor Shamshiri at No. 1 doubles.
The Generals only loss was to fifth-ranked Johns Hopkins 9-0. In its other seven matches, W&L hasn’t lost a point.
Three local players are members of the Hampden-Sydney College squad. Juniors Zach King (Mills Godwin) and Pete Dooley (Deep Run) were joined this spring by Trent Singleton (Douglas Freeman). King plays No. 3 singles and Singleton No. 5.
The duo teams up at No. 2 doubles for the Tigers, who have dropped two of their first three matches.
Freshman Connor Brewer (Collegiate) is playing No. 4 singles and No. 1 doubles for Villanova this spring. The Wildcats are 2-4 and dropped their season opener to the University of Richmond 5-2 at the Country Club of Virginia on Jan. 31 in a homecoming for Brewer.
Brewer contributed straight-set victories in Villanova’s 7-2 triumph over Whittier on March 3 in California and the Wildcats’ 5-4 decision over Vanguard (Calif.) on March 7.
Former Steward School standout Mary Taylor Tepper is in her final season of eligibility at the University of the South (Sewanee). Tepper plays No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles for the Tigers, who are 3-1 and ranked 15th in Division III in the early going.
Barney Sankar (Deep Run) is playing No. 6 singles and No. 2 doubles for Longwood, which has struggled (1-9) so far this season, and Logan Eldridge, another Deep Run alum, plays No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles for Christopher Newport University, which is 2-6.