| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The John McEnroe Tennis Academy at Sportime Randall’s Island hosted its inaugural College Recruiting Combine over the weekend as hundreds of high school players and college coaches gathered on Randall’s Island for the two-day combine.

The first day of the combine began with two rounds of girls’ singles matches in the morning while the boys went through a fitness assessment. This gave coaches an opportunity to walk around to the various courts to see the girls in match play action.

While the girls played their matches, the boys ran sprints and other conditioning drills before joining a coach’s panel which featured Combine Director Jay Harris, Jason Pasion of NYIT, Bryant’s Ron Gendron, Harvard’s Dave Fish, Billy Pate of Princeton and Drew’s Matt Brisotti. The panel went over what colleges and coaches look for in a recruit and other important and sometimes overlooked aspects of college athletics.

On the second day of the combine, the girls were talked to by a coaches’ panel consisting of Pasion, Brisotti, Sachin Kirtan of Mississippi State, St. John’s Lauren Leo, Stony Brook’s Gary Glassman, Wesleyan’s Mike Fried and Kate Bayard of Tufts.

Both groups went through mental toughness assessment questionnaires, adding to the well-rounded event that touched on everything that goes into college athletics and recruiting.

“It’s something we’ve been planning for a few years and I think it’s going quite well,” said Fritz Buehning, Director of Tennis at Sportime Lake Isle. “We’ve also reconfigured the standard college showcase, adding things like mental toughness evaluations and fitness tests.

Each one of the singles matches is being filmed so you can see yourself play afterwards and be able to see things you did well and things you can improve on.”

Each player was given their own Player Portal, which featured information on their rankings, competitive highlights, contact information, and afterwards, shareable reports and assessments on their performance at the combine. This gives coaches, as well as players, the opportunity to go back and look at each player even after the combine was over.  

“It’s been going good,” said Courtney Kowalsky, who will be a senior at Oyster Bay High School next fall. “I played one match outside and one match inside, so I had to deal with different elements so that was good for coaches to see.”

Local High school players came from Florida, Georgia, Arizona and even Greece and Puerto Rico, in addition to players from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, to showcase their talent and skills to coaches from all across the country, making the event invaluable for both sides.

“I thought I played pretty well today, especially considering the tough competition,” said Hailey Feuer of Phoenix, Arizona. “I was able to speak with a few coaches today so it definitely went well. I’m really just looking for a school with good academics with a good coach on a team that works well together.”

“It’s a fantastic way for players to show their skills from a mental and physical aspect, but also expose them to a college-type environment,” said Mike Kossoff. “The coaches are ecstatic in terms of the level of the players they are seeing and just how professional the event has been run. The fact that we have a coach’s panel, matches chartered with analytics and each player has their own player portal, I really couldn’t be happier with how it’s been and the amazing turn out.”

Click Here to check out more photos from the inaugural JMTA combine.