- 2021 Year in Review



2021 was another successful year at Smith Stearns!

Our students dazzled on the pro circuit, in college, and in juniors!


Smith Stearns Tennis Academy students and alumni brought their A-game,

despite the lingering pandemic!

They pushed themselves to super high levels – both on and off court.

Smith Stearns academy students aced their matches at USTA super national tournaments, taking home:

2 Gold Balls, 4 Silver Balls, and 1 Bronze Ball!

This success also included additional great performances at sectional, collegiate, and professional levels.

In juniors, SSTA earned 48 singles championships, 50 doubles championships, 8 national titles, and 14 sectional titles – all included in a grand total of 323 individual trophies!



Alumni Highlights

Jessie Pegula reached a career high WTA ranking of #15 in the world in singles and #46 in doubles, and competed in the 2020 Olympic Games! She also reached the Singles QF of the 2022 Australian Open!
Hayley Carter reached a career high WTA ranking of #25 in doubles and made the finals at the Miami Open; she’s now retired and is the Assistant Coach at Vandy!
JJ Tracy was named ITA Midwest Rookie of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year! JJ also made the finals of the 25K USTA Pro Circuit event at Ohio State. He is currently ranked #14 in college!
Andres Martin continues to dominate at Georgia Tech and is currently the #9 player in the country in singles and #3 in doubles!
Kylie Collins and her Texas Longhorns won the NCAA Team title where Kylie had a dominating freshman season in singles and doubles! Kylie also won two $25K Pro Circuit events this year!
Cleeve Harper is thriving at the University of Texas and is currently ranked #13 in doubles in the nation! He also won his first pro title at the $15K in Cancun!
Meg Kowalski earned All-American honors at the University of Georgia and earned a career high national singles ranking of #12!


Strong College Commitments

Smith Stearns students from both the Class of 2021 and 2022 have signed with some of the best tennis and academic schools in the country, demonstrating prowess on and off court.

Class of 2022 Commits

Aethreya Mahesh – James Madison University

Aidan Lee – Colgate University

Akari Matsuno – University of Notre Dame

Charlie Piegza – Samford University

David Saye – Michigan State University

Ella Faessler – College of Charleston

Graydon Buckingham – U.S. Naval Academy

Jeffrey Etterbeek – U.S. Naval Academy

Madison Cordisco – Elon College

Mia Thomann – Williams College

Sanjana Tallamraju – University of Toledo

Savie Seebald – Villanova University

Class of 2021 Signings
Belle Kuhnert – College of Charleston
Davis Phillips – University of Dayton
Jake Sweeney – University of Arkansas
Matt Ray – Mary Washington University
Rebecca Stepleman – Eastern Illinois
Regina Talavera – University of St. Thomas
Robert Hagen – Radford University
Romi Hodor – Colorado College
Sophia Moore – Loyola University Maryland
Will Kistler – Washington and Lee University


Collegiate Graduate Next Steps

Harry Brown – graduated from University of Michigan and is now attending graduate school at William and Mary
Paul Hendrix – graduated from the Air Force Academy and is serving in Combat Camera Maintenance


Noteworthy News

Stan Smith – In 2021, Stan celebrated the 50th anniversary of his Men’s Singles US Open Championship title, defeating Jan Kodes in 1971; this year in 2022, he will celebrate his 50th anniversary of his Men’s Singles Wimbledon Championship over Ile Nastase in 1972 and his ranking as the No. 1 Player in the World. Moreover, Stan celebrated his 50th anniversary as the touring pro for The Sea Pines Resort – Amazing milestones Stan! We’re so proud of you!


Smith Stearns hosted two junior tournaments!


Smith Stearns Junior Championship, Oct 30-Nov 1, 2021 had 9 champions!

Boys 12s Singles Champion Tylan Lamb
Boys 18s Singles Champion David Saye
Boys 12s Doubles Champion- Tylan Lamb / Johnny Bart
Boys 16s Doubles Champions- Blake Queiroz/ Leo Nedkov
Boys 18s Doubles Champions- David Saye / Drew Rukavina
Girls 12s Champion Saraswati Gowda
Girls 16s Champion Willow Renton
Girls 18s Champion Marina Fuduric
Girls 14s Doubles Champion-Brooke Bibee


Stan Smith Jr Championship Level 3 Open, Sep 10-12, 2021 with 3 champions!

B14 Doubles – Lachlan Buckingham Champion B12 Doubles – Tylan Lamb Champion G16 Doubles Marina Fuduric & Lucy Schmeil Champions


Fall First-Ever 2021 Spirit Week

The week of November 8-12, Smith Stearns Tennis Academy hosted its first-ever Spirit Week! Spearheaded by Senior Savie Seebald, along with her fellow senior peers, the week was filled with excitement and truly made a memorable splash. The entire full-time academy participated.



Coach Jolene Watanabe

In Nov 2021, the annual UNLV Women’s Tennis invitational was renamed to honor former UNLV standout player, Jolene Watanabe. Jolene was instrumental in bringing success and notoriety to UNLV. Watanabe was a beloved Smith Stearns Tennis Coach and sadly passed away in 2019 after a battle with cancer at the age of 50.


Parting Shots

Overall, 2021 was a year to remember! Despite ongoing interruptions from the pandemic, our players continued to stay focused, improving their games and playing awesome at the tournaments!! We’re looking forward to a robust spring of high-performance play and individual personal growth. Can’t wait to see what 2022 will bring!

« Back to Academy News