In nearly 40 years of coaching high school tennis, Jefferson boys’ Coach John Myers has seen a lot of good teams and players.
But the seventh-year Colonials coach can’t remember the last time a school has dominated as much as Jefferson did Thursday in the Virginia 5A North region finals at the University of Virginia.
All four finals in Charlottesville featured exclusively Jefferson players in a display of the team’s depth.
“We’ve got an outstanding tennis program in the Northern Virginia region,” Myers said. “Both [the boys’ and girls’] teams are just loaded with talent.”
In the boys’ singles final, sophomore Mark Prettyman overcame a slow start to beat junior Kevin Wan, 0-6, 6-0, 6-2.
“It was just an up and down match,” Myers said. “He started fresh [in the second set] and fought his way back into the match.”
For the girls’ singles final, top seed Rena Liu continued her stellar senior season, defeating junior Anna Venetianer, 6-0, 6-2, to extend her unbeaten streak in singles.
Liu, a MIT commit, has only dropped three games in three regional matches.
“She couldn’t miss,” Jefferson girls’ Coach Simon Harrington said. “She was just hitting good, strong balls and it was too good for Anna.”
Neither Prettyman nor Liu were finished winning as both went on to claim doubles titles.
Prettyman picked up a victory with partner Nikhil Ramachandran, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), over Wan and Brad Rosenblum, the lone starting senior on the team.
Liu and freshman Jelena Liu (no relation) won the girls’ doubles title, 6-4, 6-3, over top seed Venetianer and Ankitha Yanamandra.
“I’m sure other teams weren’t too happy that we joined the region,” Myers said of last year’s conference realignment of Virginia high schools. “But it’ll give them something to fight for next year.”
Oakton senior Lizzie Stewart added two more victories to her standout high school career, winning both the girls’ singles and doubles Virginia 6A North region titles at Battlefield.
Stewart, a Cornell commit, beat West Springfield freshman Hannah Yang, 6-1, 6-1, to claim the singles crown.
In doubles, Stewart and sophomore Lindsey Le defeated the Spartans tandem of Yang and Natalie Pham, 6-2, 6-1. They have not lost a match together so far this year.
“I think she’s an amazingly well-rounded person,” Cougars Coach Lauren Patrizi of Stewart. “She’s always super excited to be with the team. We’re just happy to have her.”