Player of the Year
Amber Li, Jr., Plant
Why we picked her: Despite coming back from a lingering ankle injury that cost her the first few matches of the season, Li was once again the top player on the county's top girls team. After winning the Class 4A, District 5 No. 1 singles title, she easily won both of her region-round matches, then helped guide the Panthers to their third straight top-two state finish. Teaming with Claire Mitchell Andrews, Li advanced to the No. 1 doubles title match. The Panthers placed second to Class 4A juggernaut Miami Dr. Krop, which won its fourth straight team title.
Most impressive accomplishment: Plant's second-place finish at state after the move from 3A to 4A was a win in itself. She said concentrating on her doubles play was big, and getting to the state final at No. 1 doubles was a major reason the Panthers clinched second. But in her singles play, she earned big three-set tiebreaker wins over St. Petersburg's Emily Dvorak in region and Alonso's Erin Snook in district play.
Did you know? Last week, Li finished her advance placement tests for five courses: calculus, English, environmental science, art history and U.S. history.
College plans: She's only a junior, so this summer of junior tournaments will be big in drawing college interest. She'd like to attend an Ivy League college, and lists Harvard and Yale as her favorites. Li has a 5.5 weighted and 3.92 unweighted grade-point average.
Blair Martin, Fr., Plant: Won Class 4A team final at No. 2 singles at state
Nicole Mera, Jr., Chamberlain: District singles champ, one half of 3A individual No. 2 champion doubles team
Erin Snook, Sr., Alonso: Ravens' No. 1 has signed with the Naval Academy
Kelly Sullivan, Jr., Tampa Catholic: Class A state individual singles runnerup
Kaleigh Wagner, So., Steinbrenner: Class 2A individual qualifier in No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles
Rachel Adler, Fr., King
Claire Mitchell Andrews, So., Plant
McKenzie O'Brien, Sr., Chamberlain
Bianca Roberts, So., Academy of the Holy Names
Jaci Watson, Jr., Newsome
Academy of the Holy Names: Christine Holcomb, Caroline Lozo, Christina Socias
King: Evelyn Qi, Jayash Ramananthan
Plant: Carol Marie Fraley, Morgan Nolan
Steinbrenner: Tatum Brannan, Natalia Campos, Carli Schwartz
Coach of the Year
Lynn Vu, Plant: Guided Panthers to a third consecutive top-two finish at state (4A this year, 3A previous two seasons)
Player of the Year
Mike Alford, Sr., Wharton
Why we picked him: Simply said, he ended his high school career as one of the most decorated boys tennis players in Hillsborough County. He won his second straight Class 4A overall state singles title this year — a year in which he didn't drop a set. He hasn't lost a singles match since his sophomore year. He led Wharton to its third straight state title, winning at No. 1 singles and teaming with Rohit Navelkar as runnerup at No. 1 doubles.
Most impressive accomplishment: In the No. 1 singles team final, Alford beat No. 1 seed Ryan Smith, a freshman phenom from Weston Cypress Bay, 6-2, 6-2. "I really had to play hard to keep more balls in play and be a little smarter than against other guys," Alford said. Smith is ranked the ninth-best freshman in the country by Tennisrecruiting.com.
Did you know? In a game that offers its share of outbursts, Alford is one of the coolest customers on the court. A slight grimace is the only sign of frustration you'll find. The last time he threw a racket? "Probably the last one I broke. I think I was 14. My dad almost made me walk home."
Future plans: Alford has already signed a letter of intent with the University of Florida. He is leaning toward studying business and is well-equipped with a 4.6 weighted grade-point average. First team
Colin Edwards, Jr., Newsome: Playing in toughest district, stepped up his game against top competition
Jon Ho, So., Wharton: His state win at No. 4 singles lifted Wildcats to their third straight 4A state team title
Tristan Kaye, So., Plant: Panther's No. 1 was best player on district championship team
Brian Kowalski, So., Hillsborough: Terriers' No. 1 went undefeated until state tournament
Jamie Sullivan, Fr., Jesuit: District singles champ in Class 2A-10, state quarterfinalist
Nathan Graddy, So., Berkeley Prep
Ben Hwang, Jr., Wharton
Jack Murphy, So., Hillsborough
Rohit Navelkar, Jr., Wharton
Alexander Peckham, Sr., Hillsborough
Berkeley Prep: Zach Ayers, Eric Fitz-Randolph, Gannon Kennedy, Nikita Leonov
Hillsborough: Jay Mendoza, Karim Saad
Jesuit: T.R. Bopp, Jordan Nasser, David Pagliarulo, Ryan Walden
East Bay: Kyle Whiteside
Freedom: Ryan Detres
Plant: Brenton D'Adamo, Lantz Martin, Adam Osiason, Mike Secular
Steinbrenner: Luke Blankenship, Anthony Melatti, Preston West
Coach of the Year
Marcie Scholl, Wharton: Led Wildcats to third straight Class 4A state team title