The St. Luke’s boys varsity tennis team welcomes Frank Russo as its new head coach and program director for the 2022 season.
Russo is excited for the new opportunity and believes he can take the St. Luke’s players to the next level: “I think my experience and knowledge will be beneficial to all the players and could make a big difference to their games. We will work a lot on mental preparation and tactics to give the players the best opportunity to win matches.”
The Storm is captained by Noah Rizvi ‘22, Reed Parmelee ‘22, and Aarit Bhatnager ‘22. Russo plans to lean on them and some of the other upperclassmen to help guide the team: “Noah, Reed, and Aarit’s leadership will be extremely important and key to our success. Phillip Etergino ‘23, Dean Ambrose ‘23, and Sam Heine ‘22 also have a wealth of experience and will play significant roles.”
In addition to the upperclassmen, St. Luke’s roster is filled with excellent young talent, and Russo is eager to see what the younger team members will contribute: “The young guys have stood out during preseason. We could have as many as three eighth-or-ninth-graders in our starting lineup this year. Todd Cannaliato ‘25 and Nate Samelson ‘26 will play in the number one and two slots in our singles lineup. It will be exciting to watch these guys grow during the next few years.”
Although new to the independent school league, Russo knows there is a ton of talent in the Fairchester Athletic Association and his team will face some tough opposition. However, he is confident his squad will be competitive against every opponent. “We know Greens Farms Academy and Brunswick School have a lot of depth, but I want our kids to play smarter and not harder. I think it will be a learning experience for all of us. We will learn quickly and give our best effort every time we step on the court.”
St. Luke’s opened its season at home on Wednesday, March 30, against Cheshire Academy. In an impressive start, the Storm won 7-0 with Todd Cannaliato (7-5, 6-2) Max Kavan (6-1, 6-1) Sam Heine (6-1, 6-1), and Nate Samelson (6-0, 6-1) winning their single matches and Reed Parmelee/Phillip Etergino (6-0, 6-1), Noah Rizvi/Dean Ambrose (6-0, 6-0), and Aarit Bhatnagar/Dylan Barkley (6-0, 6-3) closing out their doubles matches.
Boys varsity tennis is back in action on Friday, April 1, at Wooster School, before it hosts Wilton High School on Wednesday, April 6.