By Stefanie Kilnapp
Four members of the North Olmsted High School boys tennis team have received the Golden Racquet Award this season – the majority of the varsity squad.
“Something like that, you just don’t see very often,” head coach Matt Demain explained. “Four kids who have played tennis for that long, that do that well in the classroom on one team. You only have seven varsity players so more than half being seniors and doing that well, I’m just so proud of them.”
The Ohio Tennis Coaches’ Association created this award for tennis players to promote scholar athletes; the qualifications include a 3.75 GPA for six semesters and having at least lettered twice in tennis.
Aravind Kalluri, Davesh Chauhan, Rares Botosneanu and Timothy Donohue are all exceptional and unique in the fact that they have all maintained a 4.0 GPA, not only for six semesters, but their whole high school career.
As if achieving perfect grades and advanced tennis abilities isn’t enough, these student-athletes go above and beyond the standard of what your average high school student would get involved in.
Kalluri is president of the National Honor Society, varsity captain of the Academic Team and captain of Science Olympiad. After he graduates he will be attending Northwestern University’s honors program in medical education (biochemistry or cognitive science), then matriculate directly to medical school.
“I think it’s a testament to the strength of the players on the tennis team I’m really proud with how far we’ve come in the past three years,” he said. “In addition to being an excellent team, we demonstrate excellent academics in school as well, so I think it’s an honor for me to receive this award. I think it’s an honor for my teammates and I’m very proud North Olmsted was able to have so many players receive this award, a big honor.”
Chauhan is the treasurer of the National Honor Society, varsity member of the Academic Team, participates in Science Olympiad as well as the Junior Engineering Technical Society. He was also a member of the orchestra but left the program due to scheduling conflicts. His plan is to go to The Ohio State University to major in biochemistry then go on to medical school.
“It makes me really proud to be an Eagle,” Chauhan said. “All our work paid off over the years and all the long hours put in practice and all the studying for tests paid off. I am really appreciative.
“We put in the hard work and we deserve it so I’m really happy. I put in the effort and I earn my grades.”
Botosneanu is a member of Science Olympiad, the academic team and chemistry Olympiad. He is going to The Ohio State University as well, and will pursue a degree in engineering and computer science.
“I am honored and it’s nice to have your achievements both athletically and academically recognized,” Rares said.
Donohue plays in the marching and concert band, runs cross country, is in National Honor Society and is in Key Club. Similar to Botosneanu, he will attend The Ohio State University for electrical engineering.
One would wonder how these kids have the time and energy to put in so much work into so many various activates.
“It’s a challenge but you learn to figure out how to manage your time properly after a couple years, I think I lean on my teammates and my coach for advice and I think between all of that we learn how to figure out how to find time for what we prioritize,” Kalluri said.
Although their tennis skills are outstanding, academics taking the front seat is the consensus among these athletes.
According to Demain, their behavior on the court should be spoken for as well.
“They’re very patient when they play,” he said. “If they have a day where they’re not doing so well, they do a nice job of taking a break and slowing down the match and they do everything they can to win a match.”
Their efforts have proven themselves when the North Olmsted boys’ tennis team finished third in the SWC tournament, which Demain calls the highlight of the season.
“We lost earlier in the year to Brecksville – it was real close – and then when we played them in the tournament, both our doubles teams avenged their losses,” he said. “They beat the two teams they had lost to during the season. They were just so excited.
“Westlake and Avon Lake were really good this year – they finished ahead of us – I think we did as well as we could in that tournament.”