FDR tennis is without one spooky good player this year; they’re heading into 2014 without anchor Jonah Berkowitz, who won every Mid-Hudson Athletic League tennis title from 2010 to 2013 before graduating as valedictorian and going to Brown University.
“We have lost two players to graduation: Jonah Berkowitz and Dominik Zadlo,” FDR head coach Bob Mayerhofer told the Observer. “Jonah had unparalleled success at FDR. He won four consecutive MHAL individual titles. Jonah did not lose a single match from 9th grade through 12th, a span of over 60 consecutive matches.”
Mayerhofer now has a Jonah-shaped hole to fill in his roster. He looks forward to seeing John Ackerman, Berkowitz’s very talented understudy, move into the first singles spot. Ackerman went 11-1 in 2013 as the number-two singles player. Moving up into the second slot vacancy left by Ackerman will be Jay Gohel, who also pulled together a great singles record in 2013, going 10-2. Ackerman, a senior, and Gohel, a junior, will be serving as FDR’s co-captains this season, along with third-slot singles player Dan Considine.
Considine is also a formidable doubles player, having teamed with Zadlo in 2013 to assemble a 14-3 record.
MHAL competition without Berkowitz, in spite of the talent of his replacements, will be a new animal for Roosevelt, a team that has never won a Section 9 championship in a very deep Mid-Hudson tennis scene.
The Presidents, in history, have won six individual titles, two doubles championships (in 2010 and 2012) and two team titles (in 2011 and 2010).
Looking at the area competitors this year, Mayerhofer predicted, “I believe the top team contenders for this year’s title, along with FDR, will be Red Hook, Spackenkill, Walkill, and New Paltz.”
While the coach says that predicting the doubles competition in Section 9 will be difficult until the league tournaments, the top dogs of the sectional tennis scene are readily apparent.
“A number of very strong competitors return to vie for the Section 9 Championship in both singles and doubles. I believe that all three singles qualifiers for the state tournament are returning this season,” said Mayerhoffer, referring to Ernesto Dillon of Cornwall, Davis Fleming of James I. O’Neill, and Taylor Reede of Newburgh Free Academy.
Dillon and Fleming dueled for the Section 9 singles title in 2013, with Fleming coming out on top. Dillon claimed the hardware in 2011. Reede replaces NFA’s Dennis Sult as the new Newburgh top dog.