The NYJTL Mayor’s Cup, the largest interscholastic tennis event in the United States, returned to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., crowning 14 team and individual champions and awarding eight prestigious Marion & Jacob Javits College Scholarships.
Isadora Braune, of Roosevelt Island, was a double winner, earning a $5,000 Javits Scholarship, and competing in the Varsity Girls Doubles Draw, resulting in a team championship for Beacon High School from Manhattan. Isadora will attend Cornell University in the fall. She is a member of the NYJTL Advanced Tournament team.
“In the past few years, we have been growing in numbers, we added an elementary school team event and that’s growing as well,” said Elena Bantovska, director of Advanced Training and Competition for NYJTL. “In terms of varsity events, this year seems like one of the strongest, as on the girls’ side, we had eight teams.”
The team competition took place during the first weekend of the tournament, with Beacon High School emerging as the overall winner, claiming the team trophy in both the Boys and the Girls Varsity Team competitions. This was the fourth year that the Beacon boys have won the championship. In 2015, Beacon will attempt to tie Cardozo High School’s five consecutive titles. In addition, the dual boys and girls championships had not been won by the same team since Cardozo claimed both trophies in 1991.
The Middle School championship was won by Robert Wagner Middle School in Manhattan, who overcame the NYJTL ACES program team from MS 61 in Brooklyn for the title.
The individual tournament saw the number one seeds prevailing in both the boys and girls competition. Defending Girls Varsity winner, Brianna Williams of Bronx Science High School, was able to retain her champion status with a straight-set victory in the finals over Brittny Ferreira of Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. Top-seeded Ethan Nittolo of Townsend Harris High School in Flushing defeated second-seeded William Trang of Brooklyn Tech High School in straight sets in the Boys Varsity Singles Final.
In addition to his on-court accomplishments, Nittolo was selected for the first Claudette Townsend Memorial Award for sportsmanship. The Award was given to the male or female player in the tournament who exemplifies the qualities of outstanding sportsmanship, and is given in memory of Claudette Townsend, a long-time USTA chief referee for the NYJTL Mayor’s Cup.
In an all-Beacon High School match, the Girls Varsity Doubles Finals pitted the top-seeded Gill Sisters, Alexis & Isis, against the second seeded and also second doubles team from Beacon, Michelle Khaimov & Victoria Sec. The Gill Sisters prevailed in a three-set match for their second consecutive Girls Varsity Mayor’s Cup Doubles Championship.
In a matchup between two NYJTL Tournament Team members, the Middle School Girls Singles championship was won by 2013 runner-up, Shelly Yaloz of Laurel Springs over Jennifer Yu from the Baccalaureate School for Global Education. NYJTL Aces Program participants Anthony Coneo & Sebastian Gonzales, both of MS 61, reached the finals in the Boys Middle School Doubles competition before losing to Isaac Rose-Berman & Andrew Leung of Poly Prep Country Day School.
“The individual events saw nearly the same number of participants as in year’s past, with about 350 participants,” said Bantovska. “Last year, we had less teams, with six girls varsity and eight boys varsity teams. This year, we have nine boys varsity and eight girls varsity teams. On the middle school side, we had 25 teams competing, so that was pretty awesome. If we count all these numbers we had about 700 kids play tennis in this event over the course of the week.”
The NYJTL Mayor’s Cup brings together more than 600 participants from New York City’s public, private and parochial schools. The tournament attracts some of the best players from throughout the New York City metropolitan area, competing in 11 different categories for boys and girls in middle school and high school.
Credit all photos to Calvin Rhoden