Varsity Tennis Wins ISL Title and Finishes Second in New England
On May 19, Roxbury Latin’s Varsity Tennis team won its final regular season match against St. Mark’s School, to finish undefeated in the Independent School League (15-0), securing its eighth ISL title since 2011. (Accounting for two years without competition due to COVID, RL Tennis has been crowned ISL Champions eight of the last 11 competitive seasons.) Performing memorably this season in their respective positions were Cole Oberg (III) at #1 singles, Eric Diop (II) at #2 singles, Captain Akshay Kumar (I) at #3 singles, Jiho Lee (II) at #4 singles, Daniel Stepanyan (III) at #5 singles, and Tanner Oberg (V) at #6 singles. Each athlete lost only one ISL match out of 15. The final three members of this championship team, instrumental to the collective success, were Eric Zhu (III), Captain Tait Oberg (I), and team manager Justin Yamaguchi (II). With six players returning next year—including five in the starting singles line up—the future of RL tennis looks bright.
Based on the team’s league success during the regular season, they were invited to play in the 2023 New England Class B Tournament, which took place over the weekend. (Since 2011, Roxbury Latin has won this tournament three times—in 2013, 2019, and 2022—and was a finalist four other times.) Only the best eight schools in New England in their division are invited to compete. RL, seeded #1 going into the tournament, was supposed to host the first two rounds of the top half of the draw on Saturday, May 20. However, due to weather, RL was only able to play its first round match at home, against Milton Academy in the morning, which RL won 4-0 just before the heavy rain began. Winning one point for the doubles, and victories from Cole Oberg, Eric Diop, and Tanner Oberg, provided the team the necessary four points to advance. Milton Academy graciously hosted the semifinal that afternoon in their indoor facility. (RL is grateful for their hospitality!) Roxbury Latin met a familiar ISL foe in the semifinal of the tournament: a Belmont Hill squad who beat Westminster in the first round. Once again, RL won the doubles point, and wins from Cole Oberg, Eric Diop, and Jiho Lee pushed the team over the top. The final was played at Groton on May 21 against Hoosac, who won its first round against Nobles and its semifinal against Green Farms Academy. The final started well for RL, as the team was able to win the doubles point. Unfortunately, RL’s boys were not able to maintain that momentum and ultimately lost four close matches in singles (#2, #3, #5, #6), despite a valiant effort.
“I want to thank two seniors who will be greatly missed next year,” said Head Coach Ousmane Diop. “Akshay Kumar and Tait Oberg, who were captains, epitomize for me why I love teaching and coaching at RL. These two wonderful young men truly believe in our generalist philosophy, and they gave their all to their RL experience, in and out of the classroom. As a result, they have truly enriched our lives in so many ways. We say in our school literature that ‘We care, most of all, what kind of person a boy is,’ and that we want our boys to become men of character. Akshay and Tait embody all that we value and cherish most at RL.”