Best friends typically share everything. Such is the case with Doug Kaplan and Daniel Morgan of the Pelham tennis team.
Though the boys grew up down the street from each other and have shared many things over the years, none was more special than winning the state doubles championship this year.
It’s the school’s first state title in boys tennis.
“It feels great to have accomplished this with my friend, who I’ve known almost all of my life,” Kaplan said. “We’ve practiced and played together every summer since we were 8 or 9. We’re not just friends, we’re like brothers.”
Kaplan and Morgan now share another distinction. They are the Journal News Westchester/Putnam boys tennis Co-players of the Year.
The boys have been playing tennis for most of their lives, and began their journey with Pelham’s varsity team in seventh grade. They’ve also been playing at the New York Athletic Club, which is not far from their homes.
For first-year varsity head coach Olympia Koclanes, having an experienced and talented duo leading her team made her job easier.
“It’s easy to coach them,” she said. “They play all the time and at an advanced level, so it really was a gift being given them.”
Morgan was also undefeated (9-0) at first singles this season.
“This was my most successful year,” he said. “We were just trying to make it to states. As it progressed, we thought we may actually have a shot at winning. It was the perfect season; we couldn’t ask for better.”
Kaplan agreed, adding, “The overall team chemistry was better this year — most of us have played together for several years and have become friends.”
Kaplan, who went 8-1 at singles this season, will be playing for Franklin & Marshall in the fall, while Morgan will be playing at Columbia.
“This is the last time ever playing for Pelham,” Kaplan said. “It’s sad. It will be completely different next year with a new team, new coach, and a new school.
“I’m happy we could end on a high note. It was our motivation to go out with a bang.”
“It’s going to be different in college,” said Morgan, who was team captain and graduated first in his class. “It’s going to be a change. It’s going to be an adjustment in college, but I already met some guys on the team and I’m looking forward to it.”
The other members of the all-star first team include:
Shawn Hadavi, Dobbs Ferry: The junior reached the state tournament and finished the season with a 21-3 record.
Taiyo Hamanaka, Eastchester: The sophomore reached the semifinals of the state tournment after winning a sectional title.
Austin Kaplan, Scarsdale: The senior had a 9-1 record. After winning the doubles state title with Ben Fife last year, Kaplan made it to the final of the sectional tournament and the quarterfinals of the state championships as a singles player.
Jonny Dorf-Ben Shapiro, Scarsdale: The duo reached the quarterfinals of the Section 1 tournament.
Jay Glickman-Rex Glickman, Horace Greeley: Though they were not partners the whole season, the brothers decided they would team up for the playoffs since it was Jay’s last season. They reached the quarterfinals of the state tournament. In singles, Jay posted a 7-1 record and Rex had a 6-1 record.
Jared Greenwald-Danny Somekh, Scarsdale: They went 9-1 as a tandem in the regular season, and reached the semifinals of the sectionals.
Matt Levine-Alex Meyer, Byram Hills: They played first and second singles, respectively, before pairing up for the playoffs. They reached the semifinals of the state tournament and took third place.
Coach of the Year
Olympia Koclanes, Pelham: Koclanes was lauded by area coaches for the job she did in her first year as varsity head coach after coaching the JV for 10 years. Under her guidance the doubles team of Doug Kaplan and Daniel Morgan earned the school’s first state title.
Neal Port, Horace Greeley; Brian Powers, Pelham; Mike Selin, Dobbs Ferry
Paul Austi-J.P. Bremer, Bronxville; Grant DeBease-Harry Bonay, Rye; Justin Fischer-Rob Kornfeld, Hen Hud; Neil Jacobsen-Michael Beechart, Yorktown
James Aronson, John Jay; Daisuke Asano, Keio; Zach Baker, Carmel; Dylan Brittis-Tannebaum, Fox Lane; Jacob Cooper, Briarcliff; Brandon Ellis, Harrison; Ben Fife, Scarsdale; Frank Kote, John Jay; Ryosuk Mikawaki, Keio; Zachary Needle, Rye Country Day; Andy Smithline, Harrison; Matthew Weissman, Rye Country Day