Boys Tennis: Columbus Academy's Rhian Seneviratne hoped to defend state title
More than a year after winning a state championship, Rhian Seneviratne of the Columbus Academy boys tennis team still reflects on that special day at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Seneviratne, a 2020 graduate, teamed with 2019 graduate Suriya Sundaram to win the Division II state doubles title last season. The duo defeated their teammates, Jack Madison and Arie Tuckerman, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
"I still talk to Suriya," Seneviratne said. "We both got a gold medal. I have it in my room. It felt pretty good. It's great to bring success to the school, especially after we had such great coaches over the past few years. ... The memories are irreplaceable."
Seneviratne and Sundaram were the Vikings' first state champions since 2013, when Jacob Wareti and Abram Schottenstein won the doubles title. Sundaram now plays for California Santa Cruz.
Seneviratne was hoping to contend for another state championship this season, perhaps with classmate Ryan Wahl in doubles, but spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"I give everybody a fair chance, but Rhian was the defending state champion," coach Marc Wurtzman said. "He was a great singles and doubles player. He was fighting for one of the top singles positions. Ryan Wahl would have bounced between singles and doubles. He's a very good team player. He's real good in the doubles court. He brings up your level of play and he's a very supportive player."
Madison and Tuckerman, who are rising seniors, also were expected to be key contributors for the Vikings.
Academy was not only seeking to advance players to the individual state tournament, but also hoped to contend for the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division II state title. Last season, the Vikings lost to Wellington 3-0 in a district final after finishing first (5-0, 27 points) in the MSL-Ohio Division, ahead of the runner-up Jaguars (4-1, 20).
Seneviratne, who graduated with a 3.8 GPA, has committed to play for Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a Division III school in Terre Haute, Indiana.
"I had other colleges in mind, but ultimately it was the best balance," Seneviratne said. "I'm going to miss all the fun memories of hanging out with friends (from Academy) and playing tennis."
Wahl, who lost in the first round of the district tournament in singles the past two seasons, will be attending Ohio State, where he hopes to play club tennis.
He missed the early part of last season with a left dislocated kneecap after missing his freshman season with a stress fracture in his back.
"It was a pretty quick three years," said Wahl, who graduated with a 3.9 GPA. "I missed not getting to play my last season with my buddies. I thought we were going to make a pretty good run this year because everyone was practicing pretty hard over the summer. Hopefully, they do well next year. They have a good shot."