Mascaro, Gupta, Ha provide strength at top of TJ tennis lineup
Thomas Jefferson's boys' varsity tennis team has some unfinished business from last year.
Despite a strong 2012 regular season, the Jaguars finished second to Bishop Canevin in the final section standings, and lost in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal round.
This year, Chuck Correll, Thomas Jefferson's long-time head coach, believes his team's athletic talent and overall depth may provide a different outcome.
“I think this is going to be one of the better teams I've coached in my 33 years,” Correll said.
There is strong senior leadership on the team, according to Correll.
At the No. 1 singles spot is Jake Mascaro, a senior standout. At 6 feet, 2 inches, Mascaro's long reach, and speed, makes him a significant threat on the court.
“He's one of the best players in the section. He's the real deal,” Correll said.
Sumanyu Gupta, a junior, is playing in the No. 2 singles spot for the Jaguars.
“Without a doubt, he has the best forehand I've ever seen,” Correll said.
At the No. 3 singles position is senior John Ha. According to his head coach, Ha is the fastest player on the squad, and is able to run down just about any ball.
“He played a ton of tennis since last year, and (he) got significantly better,” Correll said.
The Jaguars' No. 1 doubles tandem is comprised of junior Rit Gupta and senior Keaton Lindberg.
The two have clicked and are a strong team, said their coach.
Correll cited Gupta's steady ground strokes and Lindberg's strong play at the net as being their strengths.
The No. 2 doubles team includes senior Steve Nicola, who dazzles his opponents, at times, with his left-handed shots.
“He has some serious lefty spin,” Correll said.
Fighting it out for the seventh spot on the doubles teams are Apruva Patel, a senior, and Jack Rodeheaver, a junior.
The Jaguars already have beaten last year's section champion, Bishop Canevin, along with Carlynton, sweeping both by 5-0 scores.
But Correll expects some tough competition as the season progresses.
“We'll have our hands full with South Park and Fort Cherry,” he said, “but I think it's going to be a strong season for us.”
Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.