Wiregrass boys tennis win state tournament


David Wilson

All 5 seniors on the team were undefeated this season and during tournament.

The Wiregrass boys’ tennis team are once again the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state champions, bringing home the title for the third time in Wiregrass history. 

Leading the team at the state tournament, Wiregrass seniors Vlad Shumakov and Belal Mansour, had 17 wins each and zero losses. Senior Ninad Raut, Division 1 tennis commit to Florida Gulf Coast University, won 15 matches. Senior Jeremy Caruso ended the tournament with a record of 11-1, and is committing to Duke University for tennis. Senior Zak Herrmann concluded with a record of 10-1 and senior Mason Caruso finished with a 7-0 record.  

Along with the team win, Vlad Shumakov and Ninad Raut were the overall doubles state champions and Ninad Raut was also the overall individual state champion in singles.

“Winning the state championship as an individual felt awesome, but as a team, it was something different.” Ninad Raut said. “We were wanting this for the past four years and during our last year we were able to win it; I was so happy for the guys as well as coach Wilson.”

Senior Belal Mansour preparing for a tournament match. (Samantha Morris)

In between tournament matches, tennis players are expected to keep their energy up and minds sharp. As for any athlete, it is crucial to replenish and maintain good health for tournaments. The Wiregrass boys’ tennis team made sure that they were fueled up and ready to face opponents.

“Honestly, food helped each of us persevere and keep us motivated between matches,” Mansour said.

Even though tennis is an individual sport, team bonding can play a major role in a team’s success. David Wilson, head coach of the Wiregrass boys’ tennis team, believes the players in this year’s program have found joy and success because of their tight-knit team.

“Each player pushes the other players and motivates their teammates,” Wilson explained. “It inspires them to keep going, keep trying and succeed.”

Earning his 250th win as head coach this season, Wilson sets the bar high for his athletes, but does not pressure them to win.

Wiregrass boys’ tennis team with their medals and state tournament trophy. (David Wilson)

“Coach Wilson always assured us that no matter what happens on the court, he still loves us,” Mansour said.

With three state titles, Wiregrass tennis continues to impress. Wilson has instilled in his team that anything is possible with the right mindset.

“Dreams can come true if you work hard enough,” Mansour stated.