Tennis player Thomas Jefferson wins academic competition and wins Saint Vincent scholarship


Sunday April 24, 2022 | 9:01

Thomas Jefferson senior Anthony Sparta does not necessarily cause a racket on the tennis court.

He is the loudest in class with an impressive 5.0 GPA this year and a cumulative GPA of 4.65.

Sparta was one of five students to be awarded a scholarship to Saint Vincent at Latrobe following his performance in the college’s 41st annual Wimmer Scholarship Competition.

As the first runner-up in the competition, which drew nearly 100 entrants, Sparta received a four-year scholarship, including full tuition, room and board worth over $200,000. He plans to study chemistry at university.

“I am extremely grateful to receive the Wimmer scholarship,” said Sparta. “I really like Saint Vincent College from the times I visited, so I’m excited to go. I had essentially already committed before I even learned that I had won, and had met with faculty and administration on several occasions. So it was a great experience to be recognized by some of the same people I had talked to before.

“The competition was actually divided into three parts. One was open math, the other was an essay analyzing an excerpt from Mark Twain, and the final was 100 general knowledge questions, ranging from history and science to philosophy.

Sparta learned about his scholarship while being surprised at his high school by Saint Vincent Admissions Director Heather Kabala, his parents (Chris and Donna), and his AP Physics classmates.

Sparta has been a member of the TJ boys’ tennis team for four years and volunteers to coach a junior tennis clinic each summer. He competes in the third position in singles for the Jaguars.

“Tony is very athletic,” said veteran TJ trainer Chuck Correll. “His backhand is very good and his groundstrokes are very consistent. He has been a valuable summer tennis volunteer for the past four years. He was a motivator for young college players. Tony is also a great role model for the younger players on the team. He has a calm personality and leads by example.

“Tony truly deserves the award he is receiving. He is a great person. His strong family influence is responsible for Tony’s great moral integrity. I am very impressed with the respect he shows everyone.

Thomas Jefferson recently beat rival South Park to remain undefeated in section play.

“Our tennis season is going very well,” Sparta said. “We hope to finish top of our section and look forward to the playoffs.

“Unfortunately, I have a calf injury. … All in all, it’s been a great season, and we hope to keep the momentum going.

Sparta has been playing tennis since sixth grade and is the only tennis player in her family. TJ’s eldest has no plans to continue his college career.

“Honestly, I hadn’t planned on playing in college because most of my time will probably be spent on an eventual double major in chemistry and physics,” he said.

Sparta enjoys working with young students in her community, serving as an invigilator for the Math 24 contest for area middle schoolers and volunteering at a Future Problem Solving Program workshop to introduce new students to the math contest. problems solving.

Sparta is a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship. He was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction and is a member of the National Honor Society.

“As for being a national merit finalist, I haven’t heard of the scholarship yet,” Sparta said. “Honestly, I’m just grateful to have been chosen as a finalist. This is an opportunity I never really imagined I would have.

Sparta is also a member of the AP Humanities and History clubs and is the president of TJ’s STEM club, in addition to being a member of the Varsity Academic League team.

He has been a member of the Pennsylvania Future Problem-Solving Team since middle school and has made it to the state finals several times with the team.

Sparta is also active in mock trials and was recognized as one of the “best witnesses” last year.

“I’m pretty sure St. Vincent has a mock trial team, so I’d like to join that if possible,” he said.

The TJ boys’ tennis team was 9-0 and atop the division 1-2A with three games remaining on their schedule. The WPIAL team playoffs begin on May 2.

“Last year we were a mostly junior team,” Correll said. “I expected the experience of last year to help us be much better. We are having a great season. »

The Jaguars starting lineup consists of seniors Drew Dimidjian on first singles, Chris Pham on second singles and Sparta on third. Dimidjian won the sectional singles championship.

“Drew is a dominant player with an all-around game,” Correll said. “His strength lies in his serve and his severe topspin groundstrokes. He was a national singles qualifier last year.

“Chris has improved his control and has become a very good baseline player. He’s been working on all points. And Tony has been a very consistent player for TJ. He’s a southpaw, which makes him very difficult for his players. opponents. His backhand is very good and has a lot of rhythm.

Senior Luke Georgulis and junior Gavin Sweeney are in the Jaguars’ first doubles and haven’t dropped a set this season.

“They’re both good servers and great net players,” Correll said. “Luke is doing very good cross-returns. Gavin is good from the baseline. They form a very good combination and dominated their opponents.

Three players – seniors Nick Muffi and Joe Woderak and junior Kyle Siler – rotate to the second double.

“Nick is without a doubt the most improved player on the team,” Correll said. “His ground strokes are very good, especially his cross serve return. Nick also has very good service.

“Joe was very important to our team. He managed to improve despite other commitments at the start of the season. His forehand was dominant and his serve was good.

“And Kyle is one of the best athletes on the team. He’s a relentless hustler. He’s all over the court and keeps the team in the game. His groundstrokes are solid and he’s very aggressive at net .

Correll is retiring from the coaching ranks after the 2022 spring season.

“We’ll be in the playoffs and should be a top four team,” he said. “This season has been great. What a great year for my last season.

The Wimmer Scholarship Program is named after Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, who founded Saint Vincent College in 1846 as the first Benedictine college in the United States.

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