The Charleston area is the state’s hottest hotbed for junior tennis, thanks mainly to excellent junior programs such as the ones at Family Circle Tennis Center’s MWTennis Academy, Mount Pleasant’s LTP Tennis and others.
Bishop England’s boys and girls, Wando’s girls and Porter-Gaud’s boys were the chief beneficiaries of the junior training programs as each won a state title in 2015.
In the final state junior rankings for 2015, area boys and girls held down a combined 55 of the top 20 positions for the state’s boys and girls 12, 14, 16 and 18 age divisions. Girls 12 led the way with 10 players ranked in the state’s top 20, while boys 12 had nine top 20 players and boys 16 with seven in the top 10.
The area even had one year-end top-ranked Southern player, Allie Gretkowski in girls 12, as well as a No. 2 in boys 16 standout Jared Pratt, who has now moved up to No. 1 in the current Southern rankings.
Led by Gretkowski, five local players were ranked among the Southern’s top 50 girls 12 players. Maggie Navarro (5), Sophie Williams (22), Carri Hayes (30) and Shianna Guo (47) were the others.
Emma Navarro was rated 18th in both girls 14 and 16, and 37th in girls 18 in the South. Lara Schneider (24), Gretkowski (42) and Kat Lyman (49) also were ranked in the top 50 in girls 14.
Jacob Jahn (35) and Brant Fenno (42) joined Pratt in the top 50 in boys 16, while Reilly Wilson (40 in boys 14), Mitchell Deames (29 in boys 12), Mark Militzer (20 in boys 18) and Scotty Cameron (41 in boys 18) also landed Southern top 50 year-end rankings.
Pratt, only a sophomore, is hoping to lead Bishop England to a second straight Class AA state title. But Academic Magnet may challenge the Bishops as Jahn, Sam Kavarana and Earl Navarro (ranked, respectively, 2, 4 and 10 in S.C. boys 16) all appear set to play for Academic Magnet, along with Vinod Pandey (12 in S.C. boys 14).
Porter-Gaud is sure to feel the effects of losing three-time All-Lowcountry performer Brant Fenno to online schooling for the spring semester of his sophomore year. Fenno has played on two state championship teams and has been the Cyclones’ most valuable player the last two seasons.
“Brant is doing it (online schooling) so he can play tennis twice a day,” said Edward Fenno, Brant’s father. “He is either playing tennis, lifting weights or studying.
“He enjoyed playing high school tennis, and I expect he’ll be back at Porter-Gaud in the fall. We certainly hope them (Porter-Gaud) well this season.”
A 6-1 left-hander who won the SCISA singles title two years ago, Fenno trains at MWTennis, LTP Tennis and at Creekside Tennis and Swim.
The Charleston area had two juniors to gain No. 1 state rankings for 2015 with Maggie Navarro in girls 12 and Pratt in boys 16, and six No. 2-ranked players: Scotty Cameron (boys 18), Jahn (boys 16), Reilly Wilson (boys 14), Mitchell Deames (boys 12), Lauren Quinn (girls 16), Lara Schneider (girls 14) and Sophie Williams (girls 12).
The boys 16 group appeared to be the strongest in the state rankings with seven top 10 players as Pratt and Jahn were followed by Kavarana (4), Fenno (5), Chad Nash (6), Coy Simon (8), Earl Navarro (10) and Kerim Hyatt (14).
Boys 18: Cameron Kirkwood (12) and Alex Amble (17). Boys 14: Alan Waters (5), Luke Prendergast (6), Joseph Smith (7), Pandey (12) and Zachary Dacuba (16). Boys 12: Jacob Michael Smith (5), David Rasheed (7), William Ethan Baly (8), Lucas Acevedo (9), David Nawabi (10), Matthew Baty (12), John Sutterlin (18) and Otto Sewell (19).
In girls 18, Jenna Vroman (6), Elena Schneider (8), Juliana Hannah Goehner (10), Emily Katherine Lively (12) and Tyler Kirk (13). Girls 16: Kat Lyman (3), Camryn Deames (7), Emma Smith (11), Lily Conant (13), Eileen Rickert (16) and Kirk (20).
Girls 14: Lyman (4), Allie Gretkowski (7), Shianna Guo (13), Rebecca Spratt (14), Emma Smith (17) and Emily Loring (20). Girls 12: Gretkowski (3), Saige Severance (4), Guo (7), Logan Voeks (8), Gigi Hinson (11), Sydney Severance (13), Mattie Dermody (15) and Alice Otis (16).