For George Lovitt and his Marvin Ridge boys’ tennis team, the 2015 tennis season ended in storybook fashion as the Mavericks completed a perfect 18-0 season with a nail-biting 5-4 victory over four-time defending state champion, Cardinal Gibbons, to claim the 3A state title in marathon, five-hour match.
Now, the only question is how can Marvin Ridge top that?
"Winning the state championship against Cardinal Gibbons in a match that came down to the last doubles’ match and a seven-point tiebreaker was one of the best experiences in my life," said Lovitt, whose Marvin Ridge team had lost 6-0 to the same Cardinal Gibbons’ team in the 2014 state final. "That victory gave our whole team a lot of confidence going forward that we beat anyone. We are as motivated as ever to go do it all again."
Now, Marvin Ridge begin the task of defending their 3A state championship and have the talent to make another run with their top three players back, including Lovitt at No. 1, junior, John Hatala at No. 2 and senior, Advanish Madhavaram at No. 3 to start.
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Marvin Ridge’s top three were also all within a match of winning individual singles and doubles titles.
Lovitt was the 3A state singles’ runner-up, while Hatala and Madhavaram were the 3A state doubles’ runner-up.
This year, all three Mavericks hope to take it a step further.
"Winning an (individual) state singles’ title would really complete everything I’ve accomplished as a high school tennis player," said Lovitt, who was a state semifinalist as a sophomore. "Being so close that last two years and not winning it all definitely makes me want it even more this year."
Lovitt is not only a standout player for Marvin Ridge, but also one of the best junior tennis players in the state and beyond, as the University of Minnesota signee is ranked No. 6 in the state, No. 50 in the Southeast and No. 163 in the country, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
While Lovitt’s future is bright, he is totally focused on making his final season at Marvin Ridge his best.
"I play a lot of tennis all over the country, but playing for Marvin Ridge with my teammates and friends is very important to me," Lovitt said. "We all want to go out on top."
"George (Lovitt) is very deserving of a (singles) championship, because he’s worked very hard for it," Marvin Ridge tennis coach, Julie van Olden said. "Hopefully, this will be the year that he finally finishes on top (singles) both individually and as a team."
Boys Tennis Players To Watch
Kavir Kumar, Charlotte Country Day, Sr.: University of North Carolina commit, reigning Charlotte Observer player of the Year is 69-3 overall for the back-to-back, state runner-up Bucs in the last two years.
Ryan Jurist, Lake Norman, So.: 4A West Regional singles champion, state quarterfinalist as a freshman, already one of the top junior players in the state (No. 4), according to tennisrecruiting.net.
Max Vicaro, Pine Lake Prep, So.: Defending 1A state singles
John Hatala, Marvin Ridge, Jr./Advanish Madhavaram, Marvin Ridge, Sr.: Mavericks
Joel Dunlap, Statesville Christian, Sr.: All-state performer, Division I recruit was 29-2 last season and looks to lead the Lions to their third straight NCISAA 1A state title in four years.