Sewickley Academy's Sauter to play at St. Joseph
Sewickley Academy senior Sam Sauter looks forward to kicking up his game a notch on the St. Joseph's University men's tennis team.
Sauter recently committed to the Hawks for the 2017-18 season.
“The coach really believed in the future of my tennis,” said Sauter, who plays second singles for the Panthers. “I didn't have the (breakthrough) junior (tennis) career that I wanted, but I still really believe that I can be a top collegiate player under a coach as good as (he is).”
Ian Crookenden has guided the Hawks, who are based in Philadelphia, since the 2008-09 season. He is an ex-professional tennis player from New Zealand and a member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men's Hall of Fame. Competing for UCLA in the 1960s, he won two NCAA doubles titles, including one with the legendary Arthur Ashe.
The Hawks had an 11-12 record last season.
Sauter, who is 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, placed second at the WPIAL Class AA singles championship in 2015 and third in 2016. He reached the quarterfinals of the PIAA tournament both years.
Panthers' coach Whitney Snyder is happy Sauter is being rewarded with a Division I scholarship.
“Sam's really, really come on,” Snyder said, adding Sauter is always trying to get better.
Sauter — the son of 14-year LPGA tour veteran Missie Berteotti — said he has been working with a sports psychologist and reading a lot of books on mental toughness.
“I have struggled with nerves throughout most of my junior career, and I think that has held me back from some big breakthroughs,” he said. “Over the last two years, I have lost a lot of close three-set matches that, if went my way, could have changed my circumstances from a recruiting standpoint.”
Sauter said he considered Colgate. He plans to study data science.
Luke Ross, the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AA singles champion, will play for Georgetown. The Panthers won the WPIAL Class AA crown for the 12th year in a row last season and are defending PIAA champion.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.