Max Gendler wanted to make the most of his last season playing tennis for Clarkstown South.
“I had the idea to come out this year better and go out with a bang,” the senior said.
He did just that, finishing with a 17-2 record and advancing to the sectional tournament for the first time in his high school career. His season was capped off when he was named The Journal News Rockland Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
After struggling during his first two years with the Vikings, Gendler took it upon himself to train harder and more often. That practice paid off. He played first singles as a junior last spring and placed third in the Conference IV tournament. This spring, he defeated Jason Weinberg of Suffern in straight sets for the conference championship.
He attributes his success to his brother Dan Gendler, a former all-county player himself, and his father.
“My father and older brother have kept me motivated and have always been my number one fans,” Gendler said. “They raised me on tennis.”
Gendler will be leaving in September for a nine-month study program with his youth group, Young Judaea. The program is loosely partnered with American Hebrew University, so college credits will be earned.
“When the season ended, I felt a sense of estrangement,” he said. “Tennis has been a huge part of my life since I was 5 years old. When I step onto a tennis court, things change — it’s hard to describe.”
The rest of the all-county first team:
Sam Berry, Pearl River: The senior played first singles and was the class salutatorian. He finished the season with a 12-1 record.
Jason Weinberg, Suffern: The senior had an 11-1 record and was one of the toughest competitors in the county. He advanced to the sectional tournament.
Jason Yu, Clarkstown South: The junior capped his third season with the team by reaching the Conference IV tournament semifinals. He finished the regular season 11-1.
Laksh Agrawal-Brad Studnitzer, Clarkstown South: This pair finished second in the conference. They went 6-3 in regular-season play.
Jeremy Chaitlin-Brian DiChoza, Clarkstown North: The seniors captured the Conference IV championship. They finished 7-0 in the regular season.
Dwayne Gentle-Deon Gentle, East Ramapo: These freshmen stood out in their first varsity season. Before they joined up as a doubles team for the Conference IV tournament, they were solid singles players. Dwayne went 8-4 and Deon was 10-3 in the regular season.
Jared Schlosser-Brendan McIntyre, Pearl River: This tandem went 12-1 in regular-season play and was one of the top four doubles teams in the county.
Coach of the year
Joan Smith, Pearl River: Smith, who retired after the season, helped guide singles player Sam Berry and the doubles team of Jared Schlosser and Brendan McIntyre to successful seasons.
Kyle Castorico, East Ramapo; Alex Kaplan, Suffern; Neil Ramaswamy, Clarkstown North.
Kobi Axelrod-Bridge Shreedhar; Clarkstown South; Alec Baron-Adam Millman, Clarkstown North; Christian Baroni-Theo Yongue, Nyack; Joe Maranucci-Mike Mihovics, Albertus Magnus.
Matt Corsie, North Rockland; Rahul Gogia, Suffern; Neil Karmaker, Clarkstown South; Jacob Kotch, Tappan Zee; Alex Li, Tappan Zee; Jack Mikuszewski, Pearl River; Tyler O’Brien, Clarkstown South; Dhruv Ragunathan, Clarkstown South; Rajat Rao, Pearl River; Pat Tracey, Clarkstown South.