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Sewickley Academy grad Sauter prepares for tennis competition in Atlantic 10

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
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Sewickley Academy tennis player Sam Sauter poses with USTA tennis coach Jan Irwin from Upper St. Clair.

Recent Sewickley Academy graduate Sam Sauter hopes to take his tennis game to a higher level at St. Joseph's, and Hawks coach Ian Crookenden promises to deliver.

“Sam will grow in college,” Crookenden said. “Sam will develop his serve and net game and learn how to move forward on the court effectively. Sam has not yet reached his potential as a tennis player. He will be in a nurturing environment with some tournament play in the fall and some limited play in the spring.”

To prepare, Sauter is entering tournaments and working with a personal fitness trainer. He plans to retain a junior coach.

He lost in the Round of 64 in the United States Tennis Association Level 3 Boys 18s Sectional Championship on June 24-28 at Schuylkill Valley. He made it to the quarterfinals of the 2017 Impact West Penn National Clay Court Championship on June 27-July 2 at Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center, losing to the top seed in two sets.

Sauter (6-foot-3) said Crookenden was a major reason he chose St. Joseph's, a Jesuit Catholic school in Philadelphia.

A member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, Crookenden, who is from New Zealand, earned two NCAA doubles titles playing for UCLA in the 1960s, including one with the legendary Arthur Ashe. He went on to play professionally and has been guiding the Hawks since August 2008.

Sauter is excited to move on, but said he will miss his family and friends.

“(I am) emotional about leaving here,” he said.

Sewickley Academy's No. 2 singles player, he helped the Panthers to their 14th consecutive WPIAL Class AA title this season and a repeat of the PIAA crown.

Luke Ross, the Panthers No. 1 singles player, will play at Georgetown.

Panthers coach Whitney Snyder said Sauter worked hard to make himself an NCAA Division I recruit.

Sauter, whose mother, Missie Berteotti, played 14 years on the LPGA Tour, plans to major in computer science and minor in economics.

He will join a Hawks team that had a 14-11 record this season and was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 championship by George Washington.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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