The Beacon School of New York City claimed the All-American Invitational Boys Tennis Tournament in Corona del Mar, California on March 14-15, 2014, bringing the first title to the Eastern section.
According to Coach Bayard Faithfull, the team’s victory came as a result of strong ability, commitment and more from the players. “We had four outstanding seniors. It’s been a huge pleasure to watch them grow,” said Faithfull. “To some extent it was timing, and it was having a mature group of kids coming through.”
In the tournament, a college-format is used, meaning that the match includes three doubles matches followed by six singles matches. Beacon brought its top six players: four seniors and two juniors. Based on a strong performance last year, Beacon held the third seed at the event.
After winning two matches against California teams, Beacon advanced to the semifinals against Menlo School, the national champion in two of the last four years. Although Beacon lost all three doubles matches, they scored strong wins in singles. Artemie Amari set the tone defeating Menlo’s #1 singles player, a five-star junior, by the score of 8-0. Lucas Pickering and Felipe Osses-Konig followed with strong singles wins, 8-1 and 8-3. Oliver Sec sealed the victory with an 8-4 win over the #2 singles player David Ball, a five star senior. Beacon won the semifinal with each team winning four matches, but with the advantage to the New York team in games won, 48-40.
This set up the national championship match against University High School, last year’s champ and a perennial powerhouse. The final took place at the elegant Palisades Tennis Club with several hundred spectators in attendance.
In the finals, Beacon lost two doubles matches early. Rich Sec and Osses-Konig were able to pull a tiebreaker win (8-6) at third doubles. Beacon needed to claim four of six singles matches to win. Sec (8-1) and Pickering (8-3) pulled out tough singles wins early, but then Osses-Konig lost, tying the match at three wins each. Sec beat Eric Tseng in a grueling back-and-forth match (8-6) to put Beacon ahead again.
The final two matches both headed into tiebreak endings. On the main court, Amari lost in a tiebreak to senior five-star Drew Dawson. The match was a physical battle between two outstanding players. Again, the match score between Beacon and University was tied.
In the third singles match, Win Smith had fallen behind University’s Konrad Kozlowski 3-6 early, and fought back to bring the match to a 7-7 tie. Win showed incredible composure in the tiebreak with hundreds of spectators crowding around the decisive match. He won the tiebreak 7-2 to allow the Beacon team to celebrate as the national champions.
“I’m really proud of them for their maturity,” said Faithfull. “They were really supportive of each other when they had a tough match.”
Faithfull added that his students served as strong representatives of Eastern tennis with the win. For the future, he hopes his team’s win can inspire future success. “I’m really proud of Eastern producing these boys. They’ve all come through USTA programs and endless USTA Section tournaments,” he said. “I would like to see Eastern grow in high school tennis and for USTA Eastern players to grow and develop in school tennis.”