Thomas Jefferson senior's resume most-impressive
Thomas Jefferson senior Jake Mascaro entered the WPIAL Section 5-AA tennis championships as the No. 1 seed after going undefeated leading up to the tournament.
And when the section finals came to an end, Mascaro did not disappoint, living up to his lofty seed and taking home his first section championship.
Marasco defeated the No. 2 seed, Eric Breit of Keystone Oaks, 6-1, 6-1.
“It was awesome, I was really happy,” Mascaro said of his victory. “I definitely haven't ever felt that good after a match before.
“I noticed whenever he got in trouble he just lofted the ball up ... so I just stayed patient really and that was my game plan the whole time.”
While some of his opponents train for the tennis year-round, Mascaro spends the fall months playing another sport.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Marasco manned a wide receiver position for the Jaguars, hauling in 39 catches for 749 yards and 10 touchdowns this past season.
“He is an excellent athlete excelling in both football and tennis,” said Bill Cherpak, Thomas Jefferson's football coach. “He was a two-year starter on the football team at wide receiver. He was leader both on and off the football field, as well as being an all-conference receiver.
“He is a great young man with a very bright future ahead of him. He was an integral part in the success of our team the last few years.”
Chuck Correll, Thomas Jefferson's tennis coach, believes that a lot of Marasco's football skills carry over to the tennis court.
“He's got a really good reach and usually those kinds of kids are a little awkward, but he's so agile it's unbelievable,” Correll said. “He has great footwork; he's really quick and fast.
“If you were talking about boxing, you would say Jake is a counter-puncher. What I mean by that is he lets his opponents hit a shot and he feeds off of that shot. So in other words, he's not necessarily going to initiate the offense, but as soon as someone tries something on him, he has an answer.”
A four-year starter for the Jaguars' tennis team, Mascaro certainly has an impressive athletic resume in both football and tennis.
Mascaro, who entered the WPIAL Class AA boys' singles tournament as the No. 7 seed, advanced to the championship round with a pair of upsets in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Vincentian sophomore Derek Chen, the fourth seed, came away with a 6-1, 6-0, victory in the finals held at Lakevue Athletic Club in Valencia earlier this week.
However, Mascaro's his most impressive attributes just may be in non-game situations.
One of the top students in his senior class, Mascaro is considering attending Penn State University or an Ivy League school next year. On top of that, he's also a natural leader for his teammates.
“I'm trying to show them the ropes, give them some tips, and just overall be a leader for this team,” Mascaro said.
“Jake is an excellent role model for the younger kids,” Cherpak said. “He is a straight-A student in honors courses with a grade point average well above 4.0.”
“All the kids really like him and look up to him,” Correll said. “I know that's a cliché for a lot of kids just because you might be the best, but this is an example where every kid on the team likes him.
“You can just tell.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.