Boys tennis ends with success

Entering the season, the varsity boys tennis team had to temper their expectations for the year with the departure of 2010 Patriot District Player of the Year Courage Okungbowa to a tennis school in Florida. In addition, only four players on the roster had ever played in a varsity match, so the team knew they would have a lot to overcome this season. Throughout the season, however, the four returning varsity players, combined with the emergence of senior Luis Parrado at No. 3 singles and sophomore Kyle Jamieson at No. 6 singles, were able to lead the team to within one match of the Northern Region Tournament – a great accomplishment for a program that hadn’t reached that stage in over 10 years.

“As a team, I think AHS has received a lot of respect this year by competing in every match and coming really close to regionals,” senior Erik Morton, who played No. 1 singles this year, said. “This was also the first year that all our teams won the first round of the [individual] district tournament.”

With the Atoms unable to qualify for regionals as a team after an 8-6 regular season, the top players then turned their attention to the individual district tournament. Each team in the district sends their top two singles players and top two doubles teams to compete in a single-elimination tournament in which the winner and runner-up advance to individual regionals. The Atoms’ representatives in singles were Morton and senior David Hookey, while the doubles entrants were the team of Morton and Hookey and the team of senior JP Ramirez and junior Philipos Ousman.

“I think I could have done better in districts but I fought for every game but just came up short in the quarterfinals,” Morton said.

After winning his first round match over Daniel Schlossman of South County 11-9, Morton lost to Woodson’s Ji Hoon Kim, 10-6. Hookey followed a similar path, upsetting sixth seeded Spenser Bullock of South County 11-9 before falling to Max Bernstein of Woodson in the second round.

In doubles, Ramirez and Ousman upset the fourth seeded West Potomac team before losing to Woodson’s No. 1 doubles team. Morton and Hookey proved to be the most formidable second round opponent as they easily disposed of Lee’s No. 2 doubles team in the first round and then lost to eventual runner-up Donovan and Geoff Lawhorn of Lake Braddock.

“Our reputation will continue to grow in the next few years,” Morton said.

Despite the second round exits in the district tournament, the Atoms overcame a lot this year and had a very successful season.