Believe it or not, Jericho's Blair Seideman, ranked No. 7 by the USTA and No. 10 in the country by Tennisrecruiting.net, still had some unfinished business.
A high school career that made her one of the most regarded tennis recruits in the nation, during which she went 50-0, was still incomplete: see, she had spent so much time competing nationally that she never got around to winning a state championship.
"When I started out the season, I knew I wasn't just going to play the regular season," said Seideman, Newsday's girls tennis player of the year. "I wanted to do everything. So definitely to cap off my senior tennis career, it was my goal."
After a relatively pain-free path to the state finals, The No. 1 seeded Seideman fought a grueling three-hour match, finally defeating her opponent 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 6-3 in Manlius, NY to walk away as a state champ.
"That was definitely my hardest of all my high school matches," she said. "And before it, I was anxious, because I knew this was the big showdown to see if I could be named the champion. And during the match it was tough because I felt the pressure to hold her off. Once I went into the third set, I just said, 'I have to believe in myself.'"
A state championship is certainly impressive enough, but perhaps equally extraordinary is that Seideman actually walked away from high school tennis for her sophomore and junior years, foregoing the chance at county and state titles in order to gain national recognition. But after she committed to Yale, the pressure to raise her countrywide profile eased, and she went all in. One final shot for the top spot in the state.
"It was a different kind of mentality in eighth and ninth grade," Seideman said. "When I was younger it was something new, but in 12th grade I was really looking to accomplish big things. High school isn't as tough as USTA, the competition there is far greater, so I was confident that I could do well. But sometimes in sports it doesn't always work out. To say it is one thing, but to prove it on the court is another thing."
For Seideman the proof is in the point, set, match.
Kellner, a five-time All-State selection, was a perfect 12-0 in the regular season before opting out of county and state tournaments to play in USTA competitions. She extended her winning streak to 65 matches, a mark that started in 2007, and she ends her high school career with 125 wins. Kellner will attend Notre Damn on a tennis scholarship in the fall. Since 2007, she has maintained all-division, all-county and all-state honors. Kellner won the state singles competition in 2007 and the state doubles final in 2008.
Middle Country, Senior
The Centereach senior defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-2 to claim the top spot at the Suffolk Individual Finals and advance to the state tournament. Romanoff, who hasn't decided where she'll attend college yet, advanced through the first two rounds of the state tournament before eventually losing to the No. 2 ranked player in the quarterfinals. Fierce, determined and highly vocal during her matches, she's won the Division III singles championship five consecutive times, losing just one set over the five years. Romanoff, who went 12-0 during the regular season, has played for the varsity since the seventh grade and made all-state designation the past two seasons.
BROOKE POTTISH, LINDSAY KANTOR
The pair won the Suffolk Doubles Tournament and took second place at the state tournament, losing 6-1, 6-1 to the No. 1 seeded team. This is the fourth time they have advanced to the state tournament, and their best showing. Pottish and Kantor won the Suffolk doubles final 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 after finishing second the previous three years. The duo was one of the top reasons that Westhampton advanced to the county semi-finals for the third consecutive season. Pottish, who mostly played in singles matches and will attend Johns Hopkins in the fall, was paired with Kantor, who will attend Vasser, for the first time this season for the Suffolk Doubles Tournament.
Hannah Camhi, Syosset, Sophomore
Samantha Elgort, Half Hollow Hills East, Junior
Paige Mintz and Melissa Edelblum, Roslyn, Juniors
Diana Vamvakitis and Jamie Hann, Westhampton, Juniors
COACH OF THE YEAR
Larry Levane, Syosset