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Cenkner carries tennis success to college level

St. Vincent freshman and Mt. Pleasant graduate David Cenkner has put together a strong season for the Bearcats' tennis team.

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Monday, April 22, 2013, 12:56 a.m.

The transition from high school to college athletics can be difficult, but St. Vincent College tennis player David Cenkner has made a seamless adjustment.

Cenkner, a 2012 Mt. Pleasant graduate, had a fine freshman season with the Bearcats. Cenkner went undefeated against Presidents' Athletic Conference opponents and twice was named the PAC Player of the Week. Cenkner's second player of the week honor came last week when he posted a 6-0 record and helped St. Vincent finish as regular-season champion of the PAC with a conference record of 7-0. It was the first regular-season conference title in the program's history.

Cenkner's success didn't end with the regular season. The Acme native won the PAC singles championship and was a part of the PAC doubles championship team Saturday at Pennbriar Athletic Club in Erie. Cenkner helped St. Vincent secure a spot in the PAC team championship, where the Bearcats lost to 23-time champion Grove City. For his efforts, Cenkner was named the conference's MVP.

Cenkner acknowledged the success of the program and is glad to have played such a key role. He also noted that being able to make the switch from high school to college competition has been huge in his development as a player.

“There's definitely a difference,” Cenkner acknowledged. “Every player at the college level can play and hit the ball well. They all have solid ground strokes.”

Another change in the college ranks is that players often are required to play a singles match and a doubles match against each opponent. However, in high school, Cenkner often played in WPIAL singles and doubles tournaments throughout the season. In many instances, the top players have to play multiple times in a single day during those tournaments.

“I've played in those tournaments, so I am used to playing in more than one match,” Cenkner said. “So that transition wasn't too tough.”

Coming into his freshman season, Cenkner wanted to represent St. Vincent at first singles and first doubles. He accomplished those goals.

“And I wanted to go undefeated in conference play,” Cenkner said. “I think those were goals that I thought were attainable, but there are some really good players in our conference.”

Cenkner has dominated in singles and has teamed with junior Anthony Nemanic (Hempfield) to form a strong first doubles tandem. For Cenkner, the opportunity to play at singles and doubles is something he relishes.

In the regular season, Cenkner finished with a record of 9-3 in singles and added a 10-3 record in doubles. All his singles and doubles losses were in nonconference matches in March. He went 3-0 in both singles and doubles in the PAC Championships.

“I enjoy the doubles because you have someone there to pick you up if you need it,” Cenkner said. “But the singles, it's all on you.”

Cenkner is no stranger to success on the court. As a high school player at Mt. Pleasant, he won the section singles championship three times. He took third at the WPIAL singles championship in his junior year and followed that with a second-place showing as a senior.

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