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The Sun Boys Tennis All-Star team


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    Player of the Year

    Connor Liona

    Westford Academy

    A junior, Liona played first singles and finished 16-0 while playing a grueling schedule. The league schedule included four state champs from last year, Acton-Boxboro, Concord-Carlisle, Weston and Wayland. WA also twice faced Brookline, which ended up No. 1 in Division 1. Liona beat all of those team’s opponents, as well as a match against Needham in the state tournament. Liona was unanimously voted the Dual County League Player of the Year, a year after being named to the All-Conference team. He plans to attend a college with a strong physical therapy program and play tennis.

    Connor Liona
    Connor Liona

    Andrew Peterson

    Chelmsford

    A senior who played at No. 1 singles, Peterson finished 8-4 and helped lead the Lions into the Division 1 state tournament. A captain, Peterson was named the team’s MVP, the team’s Coach’s Award winner and was selected to the MVC All-Conference team. “He is genuinely the best role model, an exceptional student, has been playing tennis his whole life and has a real passion for it,” said head coach Kristina Kea. “He is the kindest competitor, always a good sport, and I think so highly of him.” Peterson will attend Connecticut College.

    Andrew Peterson
    Andrew Peterson

    Milan Behera

    Chelmsford

    A junior who played No. 2 singles, Behera teamed  with Peterson for a terrific 1-2 punch in the competitive Merrimack Valley Conference. Behera helped the Lions win 10 matches, while he finished with an 8-3 record, which earned him a second All-Conference team selection. He also served as a captain and shared the team MVP honors with Peterson. “He is just a wonderful leader and has a lot of passion (for tennis),” said head coach Kristina Kea.

    Milan Behera
    Milan Behera

    Will Gold

    Groton-Dunstable

    A three-year starter for the Crusaders, Gold started playing doubles as a sophomore before working his way up to land the No. 1 singles spot. He finished the regular season with a 7-5 record and went 1-2 in the postseason, while the team finished with six victories. Besides tennis, Gold was a member of the soccer team and skis in the winter. He earned an award for Excellence in Design. He also earned his private pilot certificate this year. He will attend BYU.

    Will Gold
    Will Gold

    Nick Mellin, JW McDevitt

    Groton-Dunstable

    Mellin and McDevitt attend North Middlesex Regional High but since there’s no program there, the No. 1 doubles tandem played for Groton-Dunstable. The pair finished 10-5 despite this being Mellin’s first year of playing competitively. He also served as a team captain and displayed “strong leadership throughout the season,” said coach Matthew Johnson. Besides tennis, McDevitt, a senior, also competes in golf, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track. He earned 13 varsity letters between NM and playing tennis at G-D. He will attend UMass.

    Nick Mellin
    Nick Mellin
    JW McDevitt
    JW McDevitt

    Sam Little

    Littleton

    A former baseball player who made the switch to tennis last year, Little played No. 1 singles. The junior co-captain finished 10-6, was named the Mid-Wach MVP and team MVP. He played doubles last year. Little is also an excellent student. “He has been the heart and soul of the team. Always a massive display of sportsmanship, Sam has been the best player I’ve ever seen on a tennis team in terms of heart, his care for the team, his attitude and his work ethic. I’ve never seen a person work as hard as he has in tennis, and this year it really paid off as he awarded the league MVP for his efforts,” said coach Richard Ryzi.

    Sam Little
    Sam Little

    Saunak Manna

    Westford Academy

    Only a sophomore, Manna put together a sensational season for the Ghosts. Playing second singles, he finished 12-4, competing in the best league in the state. During the season, he enjoyed an 11-match winning streak. He was voted to the DCL All-Conference team. Besides tennis, Manna volunteers his time as a recreation basketball league coach and as a flag football league coach. He is a black belt in karate and also enjoys playing the piano.

    Saunak Manna
    Saunak Manna

    Anuj Gandhi, Sidd Karani, Owen Mitchell

    Wilmington

    Gandhi, Karani and Mitchell played first, second and third singles, respectively, for the Wildcats and finished with individual records of 8-2, 7-3 and 8-2 against league competition, while the team finished 9-7 in the regular season before knocking off two teams in the playoffs before falling to Bedford in the Elite 8 of the Division 3 state tournament. All three served as captains and were named Middlesex League all-stars. Gandhi and Karani return next year, while Mitchell, who was in the top 10 percent of his class and also played golf, will attend Boston College.

    Anuj Gandhi
    Anuj Gandhi
    Sidd Karani
    Sidd Karani
    Owen Mitchell
    Owen Mitchell

    Coach of the Year

    Rob Mailey

    Wilmington

    In his 14th year as head coach, Mailey led the Wildcats to a 11-8 season, which included tournament wins over Maimonides and Auburn. Last year the Wildcats also advanced to the Div. 3 Elite 8 and both seasons were the furthest any team has reached in program history. Mailey played at Masconomet Regional and helped the team win four league titles. When he graduated in 1969, he held the all-time record for most career wins. He enjoyed a strong career at Beloit College in Wisconsin. He was a club pro at Indian Ridge Country Club and North Andover Country Club. He has served as an instructor for decades. Before WHS, Mailey was the co-head coach of the North Andover boys for 10 years and won several league titles.

    Rob Mailey
    Rob Mailey

    Second Team

    Alvirne: Caleb Lambert, jr. Billerica: Abhinaba Goswami, soph. Chelmsford: David Barber, sr. Groton-Dunstable: Ayush Chaudhary, fr. Tewksbury: Danny Franklin, sr. Tyngsboro: Trey Hartigan, jr.; Sudar Meyyappan, soph.; Arjun Jatain, soph. Westford Academy: Will Owen, sr.

    Wilmington High's Anuj Gandhi returns a shot during a win over his Auburn opponent. He put together a terrific season. (Doug Hastings photo)
    Wilmington High’s Anuj Gandhi returns a shot during a win over his Auburn opponent. He put together a terrific season. (Doug Hastings photo)
    Wilmington High's Sidd Karani won his singles match during a 5-0 boys tennis victory over Auburn. (Doug Hastings photo)
    Wilmington High’s Sidd Karani won his singles match during a 5-0 boys tennis victory over Auburn. (Doug Hastings photo)

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