In just a short while, the cold weather will subside and the snow on the ground will all melt away, ushering in the spring here on Long Island. With that comes a return to the outdoor tennis courts, and a new season of boys’ high school tennis.
This year should be even more exciting than previous years as for the first time, boys’ tennis teams will have an opportunity to compete against the other top teams from across the state in the inaugural New York State Boys’ Tennis Team Championships. The tournament was introduced last year during the girls’ season, and this spring will see the first-ever state tournament for boy’s teams.
Last year, Syosset won Nassau County and Long Island titles, and the Braves will be back this spring to reclaim the boys’ championships. It will have to do so without outgoing seniors Brian Gao, Jeremy Levine and Chris Vallone, but have a plethora of depth prepared to move up the lineup this year. Ansh Chadha will remain at first singles for the Braves, and young talent such as Devan Malandro, Evan Lee, Nikhi Shah, Dylan Apfel & Spencer Keschner will fill out a lineup eager to repeat as champions.
Syosset’s Ansh Chadha will look to lead Syosset to another Nassau County and Long Island title
Nassau County finalists Roslyn will have to replace outgoing senior Mikey Weitz, a veteran singles player who reached the individual singles final last year, and provided valuable leadership to the Bulldogs. That vacant first singles spot will be filled by freshman Ethan Solop, who played second singles last year. Gavin Koo, who competed in the individual doubles championships with Solop, will take on a bigger role as Roslyn aims to return to the county final.
Senior Candrin Chris will retain the top singles spot for Port Washington, and will look to follow up on a great junior campaign. He will lead a lineup that features sophomore Ezra Loewy, new addition junior Amir Pazy at singles, and returns veteran first doubles player Daniel Greilsheimer as well.
Hewlett is an intriguing team to watch in Nassau this spring. Leading the way is last year’s singles champion Stephen Gershfeld, a junior, who will try to take Conference I’s lone south shore team deep into the county playoffs. Helping him out will be Alex Sherman and Benjamin Grushkovskiy, two experienced players who were All-State doubles players in 2021. With these players atop the lineup, the Bulldogs are eager to make a playoff run.
Defending Nassau County singles champion Stephen Gershfeld
One of Gershfeld’s opponents en route to the singles title last year was Albert Hu of Great Neck South. As a freshman, Hu used his long, lefty frame to baffle opponents and become one of the top players in the county. Hu will look to lead the Rebels to a successful season as a team, and also aim to return to the latter stages of the individual championships at the end of the year.
Great Neck South’s Albert Hu looks to build on an All-State season in 2021
More players to watch in Nassau County include Jericho’s Michael Safir, who was All-County a year ago and finished in fourth in the individual championships. Wheatley sophomore Aaron Raja is an exciting young player, as is Herricks’ sophomore Amen Walia.
Friends Academy bolsters two excellent players in Zack Cohen and Russ Notaris, while Lynbrook’s Cooper Schorr is someone who could compete for a county title later this spring.
Heading east on Long Island brings us to Suffolk County, where a year ago Commack put together an undefeated season and won the county title. With much of its team returning this spring, the Cougars will be out to defend its title, and take it one step further. Eddie Liao anchored the team’s success as the sophomore compiled a dominant freshman campaign. He didn’t lose a match at first singles and would go on to capture the county’s individual singles title.
Backing him up on the Commack roster is James Yu, who played second singles a year ago and should remain in that role this year. Commack does lose some key contributors from last year including Kevin Chen and Ryan Burke, but Matthew Strogach and Eric Benderly will help round out the lineup as Commack aims to win it all once again.
Commack’s opponent in last year’s county final was Ward Melville, and the Patriots should once again be a formidable threat. While it loses Matthew Kronenberg, county doubles champion, to graduation, his county champion partner Gabe Bursztyn returns to the lineup as does his brother Aron Bursztyn, who played first singles a year ago.
Aron Bursztyn will try to lead Ward Melville back to the Suffolk finals
Perhaps the biggest threat to toppling Liao for the county singles title will be Harborfields’ Christopher Qi, who reached the county final a year ago. Qi has the physical tools and all-around game to be a dominant player, and will be out to go one step further this season.
Harborfields’ Christopher Qi was a Suffolk County singles runner-up in 2021
For the Harborfields’ team, Qi will be joined by Nolan Surbeck, who played third singles a year ago, as well as the return of the first doubles duo of Marshall Singer & George White, as they try to make some noise as a team this season.
One team you can never count out in Suffolk is Half Hollow Hills East. The squad returns a lot of its talent from a season ago, and with another year of experience under its belt, look for Hills East to once again compete with the likes of Commack and Ward Melville. Anchoring the lineup is junior Krithik Madisetty at first singles and senior Dylan D’Agate at second singles, while the team expects to get big contributions from sophomore Jordan Heyman & eighth-grader Tommy Walsh at first doubles.
Other players to watch this season, and especially as we move towards the individual championships later in the spring, are Elwood-John Glenn senior Alon Alkelai, Half Hollow Hills West sophomore Bryan Volk and Bayport-Blue Point freshman Shane Duerr.
There is a ton of young talent sprinkled throughout Long Island which sets up an exciting 2022 season of boys’ tennis. Be sure to visit LITennisMag.com throughout the season for match recaps, features, photos, updates and more.
Below are key dates for both Nassau and Suffolk County. All dates and players are subject to change.
Friday-Monday, May 13-16
Suffolk County Divisional Individual Championships
Thursday-Saturday, May 19-21
Suffolk County Sectional Individual Championships
Saturday-Sunday, May 21-22
Nassau County Individual Championships – Eisenhower Park
Wednesday-Thursday, May 25-26
Long Island Team Championship Dates
Thursday-Saturday, June 2-4
New York State Individual Championships – USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Friday, June 10
New York State Small School and Large School Team Championships
All dates, players and teams are subject to change. Please be sure to check LITennisMag.com for the most up to date news and scores across Long Island.