The road to the New York City Championship in Boys High School Tennis has gone through Beacon for a decade.
And that may be an understatement.
Beacon defeated Bronx Science 4-1 in last year’s PSAL Championship to claim its 10th City Title in a row, a mark of its incredible consistency year-in and year-out. That consistency comes from the top of the program and longtime Head Coach Bayard Faithfull, who will be entering his 18th season at the helm of Beacon.
“We are going to work hard and we are going to have fun,” Faithfull said of his team’s approach to the 2018 season. “That’s what we try to do each year. We’re excited about a few new freshmen coming up to the team, as well some seniors who provide incredible leadership, especially my two captains. I’m looking forward to another good season.”
Beacon is the favorite to defend its title and maintain its remarkable streak as we head into the Spring 2018 campaign. The school returns all of its starters from last year’s team, anchored by seniors Julian Szuper and Felix Levine, and juniors Ethan Leon and Marcos Lee.
Leon, Lee and Levine make up Beacon’s top three singles players, in that order, and provide talent and leadership at the top which has a ripple effect on all of their teammates.
“What’s been exciting about this particular group is that we have about six or seven players who are really competing with each other pretty hard,” said Faithfull. “We also have a group of 10th graders who were a little young last year, and not quite as strong physically. But the leadership that comes from the top pushes everybody to be better, and we have been lucky enough to have kids who are willing to push and help other kids move along.”
While still just a junior, Leon will again lead the Beacon lineup at the first singles spot. He captured the PSAL Singles Title a year ago, and while he has achieved a great deal of individual success thus far in his career, Leon is still focused on leading his Beacon team.
“I think the confidence we have as a unit makes the team stronger,” Leon said of the team consistency. “The confidence we embody overwhelms any expectations or pressures that we are supposed to feel. I think that we are comfortable with winning and put all of those pressures aside.”
The ability to handle winning and success, yet maintain the desire to work hard in each practice and in each match has been a major factor in Beacon’s incredible run, and is something that is passed down from the older players to the younger players each season.
Another key to Beacon’s success over the years has been its depth, and it has no shortage of that coming into the 2018 season. Noah Edelman, Donovan Brown and Joseph Wilkanowski were all freshmen last season and played prominent roles in doubles. Now a year older and with that championship experience, the doubles tandems for Beacon should be even stronger.
“The three sophomores are all going to be big players this year,” said Faithfull. “And we have at least three freshmen who I think are going to make an impact on the team this year: Sebastian Sec, Arnav Aghostino and Hyat Oyer. It’s nice to get some of these kids in here and see what they can do for us.”
New York City Players to Watch in 2018
►Kemal Aziz Staten Island Tech
►Shawn Jackson Susan Wagner
►Jonah Jurick Bronx Science
►Ethan Leon Beacon
►Daniel Maseyev Brooklyn Tech
►Aleksa Pljakic Townsend Harris
►Nicholas Pustilnik Stuyvesant
►Kai Yuminaga Cardozo
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org