by Andrew Rudansky
At the Ross School in East Hampton, tennis is king.
With their six court Tennis Center located on the school’s Upper Campus, and top tier international coaching staff, Ross has separated themselves on the East End as the dominant force in Section XI tennis.
Nothing exemplifies this success in tennis more than the boys varsity team, which is the two-time defending League VII champions, having gone undefeated in league play in both 2010 and 2011.
In both those years, Ross had finished in the finals in the Suffolk County tournament, both times losing out to powerhouse Half Hollow Hills East.
This year Ross is off to another hot start, starting the season with a league record of 5-1. The one loss came at the hands of Southampton in a close 4-3 decision on April 2. It was Ross’ first loss in over 29 league games.
Ross is currently locked in a three-way tie for first place with the Westhampton Hurricanes and the Southampton Mariners.
Ross is led by senior Felipe Reis, the number one singles player on the team. Last year Reis made it to the state quarter finals in doubles, and this year he is off to a great 6-0 start to the season.
“[Reis] is definitely the strongest player,” said coach Vinicius Carmo. “He is strong mentally, even if he is down he is always fighting.”
Junior Ben Okin, the number two singles player, currently holds a record of 3-3 this season. Carmo said the tall junior has been using a big forehand shot and side-to-side ball placement to outmuscle his opponents.
Seventh graders Jonas Linnman, 5-1, and Mike Petersen, 4-2, occupy the third and fourth singles spots on the roster.
Carmo said that two teams have been fighting it out for the first doubles spot on the roster. Juniors Jack Brinkley-Cook and Louis Caiola are currently slotted in at number one, however the team of junior Pedro Zagury and freshman Harrison Rowen are close behind.
Freshmen Will Greenberg and Jordan Schwimmer occupy the third doubles team spot.
“The doubles teams have been very strong. I feel that we have a solid team, they can all play,” said Carmo.
Most recently Ross defeated William Floyd 6-1 on Wednesday, April 4. Reis, Linnman, Petersen, as well as the teams of Rowen/Zagury and Brinkley-Cook/Caiola won their matches in two sets.
While the team is still racking up League VII wins, the recent addition of the The Ross School Tennis Academy to the school could ultimately threaten Ross’ dominance in interscholastic tennis competition.
The Academy, which opened up in the fall of 2011 is a specialized training program at the school dedicated to intensive tennis training.
This year six Ross students were named ineligible for the Section XI Spring 2012 tennis season by the New York Public High School Athletic Association (NYPHSAA) for their involvement with the newly formed Academy.
Carmo said he was frustrated by the ineligibility of his students.
“Section XI, they said that it wasn’t fair because of the recruiting. We try to advertise, of course, because it is a private school; but we don’t say come and play for Ross. We don’t give athletic scholarships. To me that is not recruiting,” said Carmo.
The next home match for Ross will be on Wednesday, April 18 at 4:30 p.m. when they host Eastport/ South Manor (1-4).