Player of the year: Dan Stefan, Jr., Boca Ciega
Why we picked him: Stefan was unbeatable this season. He cruised through regular-season, district and region tournament play. At the Class 2A state tournament, Stefan did not lose a set in earning his second straight overall state championship. He also teamed with Nikita Goldenberg to win the individual bracket state doubles championship. The only blemish to his season was the overall doubles match, which he and Goldenberg lost 6-1, 6-0 to Gulliver Prep. “I couldn’t have asked for a better season,” Stefan said. “Last year, I didn’t really know what to expect. This year I was more relaxed and had fun.” As for next season, Stefan said he will definitely be back at Boca Ciega, but he’s not sure he’ll play tennis.
Future plans: Stefan has a full summer planned with USTA state and national events. The first is the state closed sectional tournament June 10-15 in Daytona Beach. He also plans to play in the Clay Court Supernationals in July at Delray Beach and the Hard Court Nationals in Kalamazoo, Mich., beginning Aug. 2. As for tennis after high school… “I’d like to play college tennis,” he said. “The competition is very good on that level. If you go pro before college it’s kind of risky.”
Did you know? Stefan is No. 1 in the USTA Florida boys 18 rankings with 6,747 ranking points. The next closest player has 5,514. …When Stefan was 12 he used to train with Northeast graduate Danielle Collins, who recently won the women’s NCAA singles championship for Virginia.
Coach of the year
Kelley Hixson, Boca Ciega. Granted, Hixson had Stefan on her team, but it takes more than one player to win a district championship. Hixson led the Pirates to a 2A-10 district title and a region semifinal win over Tampa Catholic.
Evan Holvoet, Sr., Canterbury: Won the Class A state individual singles championship; will play tennis at Kennesaw State University.
Parker Hayslett, Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic: A district champ and state tournament qualifier, Hayslett lost to Holvoet in the second round of the Class A tournament.
Peter Litsky, So., Shorecrest: A top-notch player had a tough draw against Holvoet in the district final.
Jordan Monosky, Sr., Countryside: No. 1 singles player won his match in a district playoff against Palm Harbor University to help the Cougars reach region play.
Aaron Carey, So., Countryside: Cougars’ No. 2 was the only player to win his region match against Plant.
Nikita Goldenberg, Jr., Boca Ciega
Mohamed Nuh, Sr., Palm Harbor University
Martynas Lukosiunas, Jr., Countryside
Alex Wahl, Sr., Osceola
Greg Perenich, Sr., Palm Harbor University
Boca Ciega: Richard Mannion; Clearwater: Scott McElravy, Jake Roberts; Clearwater Central Catholic: Tyler Berning, Joao Teixeira; Countryside: Nick Oppenheimer, Chandler Walker; Dixie Hollins: Anthony Manganiello, Robert Watson; Dunedin: Michael Schermerhorn, Taylor Wilson; East Lake: Ryan Hall, Ganesh Rajaram, Aaron Swartz; Lakewood: Elijah Adams, Julian Haerle; Largo: Brent Babista, Jay Desai, Dennis Le, Kush Patel; Osceola: Jordan Alexander, Luke Alexander, Alejandro Lense, Tyler Lovett; Palm Harbor University: Ishan Mandani, J.P. Voitlein, Will Voitlein; Pinellas Park: Chris Dunlop, Christian Valdes; St. Petersburg: Carl Gallauer, Devan Upadhyay; Seminole: Jason Katz, Skyler Fanning, Matthew Madsen, Jasen Norris, Cole Walters; Shorecrest: Logan Elder, Rohit Reddy, Jack Ledford, Luis Sarabia; Tarpon Springs: Jake Brennan
Player of the year: Angel Deng, Sr., East Lake
Why we picked her: Deng advanced to the individual singles state championship in Class 4A, but lost 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6-3) to Newsome’s Kylie Moulin. It was the first time in three tries she advanced to that round. As a freshman at Countryside and a junior at East Lake last year, Deng also played in the state tournament. “I’m proud of the way I played,” she said. “That was as far as I’ve ever gotten so it’s been a good season.” Deng teamed with Kim Herrock and won the individual doubles championship. They lost the overall championship to Plant’s Erica Oosterhout and Gabby Rodriguez 6-1, 6-4. This season was the first time Deng and Herrock were doubles partners.
Future plans: Deng will attend Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where she will also play tennis. Prior to leaving for Cornell, Deng will spend July visiting relatives in China. Her parents are from China, though she was born in the United States. It will be the first time in eight years Deng has been able to take a vacation since she will not be playing junior tennis.
Did you know? This is the third time Deng has been named the Times’ player of the year.
Coach of the year
C.J. Obartuck, East Lake. The Eagles had another successful season thanks to a solid top five. The combination of Deng and Herrock were an almost guaranteed three points per match, but players 3-5 also contributed plenty. East Lake advanced to region play but ran into a very tough Plant team in the semifinals.
Alexis Franco, So., Largo: Played high school tennis for the first time this season, finished second in the Class 3A individual state singles tournament.
Kim Herrock, Sr., East Lake: Could play No. 1 singles at most schools; she and Deng made the state doubles final.
Laurel Wanger, Fr., Largo: A quality No. 2 player behind Franco, she also teamed with Franco in doubles; the duo advanced to the Class 3A final.
Rehaana Butt, Fr., East Lake: No. 3 singles player helped round out a region qualifying team; she won the Eagles’ only singles match in region play vs. eventual state champion Plant.
Isabella Dohse, So., Clearwater Central Catholic: Helped CCC advance to the region final; she won her No. 1 singles match in the region semifinals against Lakeland Christian.
Anna Olsen, Sr., Pinellas Park
Shannon Wagner, So., Countryside
Meredith Riccardi, Jr., Osceola
Yiying Chen, Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic
Lenah Monosky, Fr., Countryside
Admiral Farragut: Anastasha Worlds; Boca Ciega: Elizabeth Brown-Worthington, Kristen Emery, Phuong Ly; Clearwater: Macey Fancher, Katie Gardner; Clearwater Central Catholic: Delaney Abood, Katherine Yang; Countryside: Maria Diaz, Katie Ernst, Ashley Reese; Dixie Hollins: Zoe Basheska, Imani Musengwa; East Lake: Ali-Mae Gleason, Meredith Aebersold, Beth Maher; Lakewood: Keylee Gibbons, Tahira Green, KC Shelton; Northeast: Dunja Kisin; Osceola: Jade Smith, Jayla Smith, Allison Tuccelli; Palm Harbor University: Joeli Roth, Elissa Lisle, Shannon Cruz, Carina Gobes; Pinellas Park: Thanatchaporn Srichaphan, Sofia Sanchez; St. Petersburg: Gabi Garcia, Rachel Harvard, Sophia Schuller; Seminole: Jenna Belscher; Tarpon Springs: Gina Szucs, Clivonya Woodside