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Daily Press all-stars: boys tennis
DAILY PRESS ALL-STARS: Boys tennis
Player of the year
Bart Grover, senior, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
Bart Grover, the youngest member of Hampton Roads' most prolific tennis family, dominated his Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools competition. For the second year in a row, he was the TCIS most valuable player in singles and doubles (with Kunal Kapoor). He repeated as the first-flight tournament singles champion with relative ease in the TCIS, which often is the best high school league in Hampton Roads.
Playing tennis for NSA since eighth grade and competing in national-level tournament since 1999, he steadily has increased his power -- especially on his serve and forehand -- while not losing the control that made him tough to beat in lower age groups. This season, he was named the state Division II player of the year for independent schools.
Grover, a National Honor Society member, received the James M. Johnston Honors Scholar Award to attend North Carolina, his favorite university since childhood. He also received a tennis and education scholarship from the U.S. Tennis Association. He hopes to walk on to the Tar Heels' team, which was second in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament and finished the season ranked 10th in the nation.
His older siblings starred in tennis: Michelle at NSA, Norfolk Academy and James Madison, then Nate at NSA and Old Dominion. Their parents, Lee and Jan -- whose house in Suffolk is like a local shrine/hall of fame for to the sport and has a red clay court next to it -- pointed out that since 1995, a Grover has played No. 1 for an area private school.
OTHERS ON SINGLES FIRST TEAM
JACOB BRAIG, Jamestown, senior: He won the top flight in the early season Newport News Invitational and was runner-up in the Bay Rivers District and Region I tournaments. His play in the team phase of postseason took the Eagles to within one game of their first state Group AA crown. He's heading to Christopher Newport, where he will join two former Jamestown teammates on the Captains' squad: his brother John and Lorenzo Sison.
AARON BROWNELL, Menchville, senior: He repeated as the Peninsula District tournament runner-up and spearheaded the Monarchs to second place in the PD. He was the runner-up to Braig in the Newport News Invitational. He's headed to the University of Virginia, where he could play club tennis.
TEDDY HARVEY, Walsingham Academy, senior: Harvey was named to the all-TCIS second team and reached the semis of its first flight. He'll attend the University of Mary Washington and might try out for its strong Division III team.
TONIQUE MERRELL, Heritage, junior: He repeated as Peninsula District singles tournament champion after leading the Hurricanes to an unbeaten district season. He sparked his team to the Eastern Region semifinals and was a regional singles quarterfinalist.
ADI SHETTY, Tabb, senior: He led the Tigers to the Bay Rivers District and Region I championships and was state Group AA runner-up. He is heading to Virginia Commonwealth's pre-med program.
DOUBLES FIRST TEAM
TONIQUE MERRELL and CREIGHTON JONES, Heritage, junior and freshman: They led the Hurricanes to the district title, won the Peninsula District tournament and beat teams from Cox and Great Bridge to reach the regional final and earn a state Group AAA tournament berth.
JACOB BRAIG and ELLIOT MEE, Jamestown, senior and freshman: They won the Bay Rivers District and Region I championships and, despite Mee's late-season problems with cramps, were the state Group AA runners-up.
BART GROVER and KUMAL KAPOOR, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, senior and junior: They repeated as first-team all-TCIS regular-season selections after being one of the best pairs in the area.
SINGLES SECOND TEAM
Joe Cross, Lafayette, senior.
Chad Cutchin, Windsor, senior.
Charles Forman, Warwick. sophomore
K.C. Jones, Hampton Roads Academy. senior
Elliot Mee, Jamestown. freshman
Evan Rutherford, Hampton Roads Academy. sophomore
DOUBLES SECOND TEAM
Adi Shetty (senior) and Matt Murch (senior), Tabb.
Aaron Brownell (senior) and Douglas McDowell (junior), Menchville.
Evan Rutherford (sophomore) and K.C. Jones (senior), Hampton Roads Academy.
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