Reynoldsburg News

Boys Tennis

Raiders' duo one and the same

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Because Reynoldsburg High School seniors Isaac Khan and Yosef Maher already are taking classes at Ohio State University, they often end up car-pooling.

That's not the only thing they share in between their college courses and being key members of the Raiders' boys tennis team.

"Last week we played ping-pong before one of our matches for two hours," Khan said. "I love it."

Their love of both tennis and table tennis is another similarity between Khan and Maher, who are part of the team's six-member senior class.

In addition to learning tennis as seventh-graders, Khan and Maher are among a group of players who are in the top 15 in their class academically, according to Khan. That group also includes seniors Zach Kahl and Raymond Truong.

Khan and Maher also are first-generation Americans whose parents moved here from other countries.

Each even has three siblings -- all older sisters.

"I know Isaac's and Yosef's parents moved here a long time ago," coach Mark Mathias said. "They're both very smart. I know Isaac is involved in robotics and they've both been taking college classes."

While Truong began attending classes at Ohio State last year, Khan and Maher started taking college courses this year.

Last semester, Maher got two As, which equals a 5.0 on a 4.0 grading scale because it was in college.

"From what I can tell, all of my teammates are very smart students," Maher said.

While both Maher and Khan have taken three years of Spanish in high school, their families speak multiple languages.

Maher's family came to the U.S. from Afghanistan in the early 1980s and speaks both Farsi and English.

"I'm probably better at English," Maher said. "I do speak Farsi and I understand it perfectly. I believe as a kid I was probably a little bit better at Farsi."

Khan's family moved from India in the early 1980s. The main language spoken in his home is Urdu, a dialect of Hindi.

"If I start speaking in English to my parents for too long, they start saying, 'Blah, blah, blah,' " Khan said. "When I look at all of our home videos of when I was little, all I spoke was Hindi."

Khan, who teamed with senior Bryn Bell to take third in second doubles in the OCC-Ohio Division tournament a year ago, aspires to be a cardiovascular surgeon.

"I know it will be a lot of school, so I'm thinking of taking biomedical engineering so I'll have a job that will pay my way through medical school," he said.

Maher, who took third in the league at third singles last year and has spent most of this season at second singles, is planning on majoring in biology with the hope of attending medical school. His father, Mir Maher, is an anesthesiologist at Berger Hospital in Circleville.

The experience of players like Maher, Khan and junior first-singles player Cameron Raglin, who was a Division I state qualifier a year ago, has the Raiders thinking big this spring.

Reynoldsburg, which lost to Gahanna 3-2 on April 17 and beat Pickerington Central 3-2 on April 21, was 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the league before playing Pickerington North on April 22.

Last season, North won the league (77 points, 7-0), Gahanna was second (61, 6-1) and Reynoldsburg took third (57, 5-2).

The Raiders returned six of their top seven players from that team and are getting contributions from junior Nick Seals and freshman Malcolm Kirksey as well.

Maher, who lost to Raglin in a challenge match 6-0, 6-0 as a sophomore but recently fell to his teammate in a practice match 6-4, 6-4, believes most of his teammates have improved from a year ago.

"Honestly, it's probably because of the connection we all have together," Maher said. "We all have known each other for a very long time. We have a team of a lot of seniors. I know I'm a completely different player than I was my freshman year."

"I know my team always has my back," Khan said.

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