Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

Stars Align for GFA Tennis Programs

John Nash

The Greens Farms Academy tennis programs — both girls and boys —have been courting plenty of success over the years

A combined five New England championships (three for the girls, two for the boys), two runners-up along, and a total of 12 FAA titles (eight girls, four boys) showcases how successful the program has been over the years.

While the spring 2021 season will look vastly different from many seasons, GFA tennis is expected to keep rolling. The Dragons boast four 4-star recruits, two 3-star standouts, and a 2-star recruit. Add it all up and there should be plenty of Dragons saying game, set, and match this season.

“I would certainly say it’s one of my deepest teams,” said longtime GFA girls tennis coach Mo Rutledge, whose squad bested Sacred Heart-Greenwich 6-1 last week, rolling to their first win over the Tigers since 2013. “Back in 2012-13-14, when we were winning our FAA titles, we had tournament players at 1-2-3, but they were 2-stars, maybe, as compared to the fours we have now.”

Stars are used as a recruiting tool and range from one to five.

GFA junior Lulu Wu and sophomore Lane Durkin are both 4-star recruits, according to tennisrecruiting.net, while sophomore Charlotte Calderwood is a 2-star recruit.

“I’m thrilled beyond repair to have the caliber of players we have,” Rutledge said. “We have a unique collection of pure athletic talent with a lot of seasoned competitive experience.”

When we last left the Dragons on the court, pre-COVID-19, the team was hoisting the NEPSAC Class C Championship. GFA could have had a shot at defending that title, if not for the pandemic.

Dasha Timasheva and Harriett Wells are the only two seniors on the roster. Timasheva is playing No. 1 doubles with junior Anya Bettegowda, and Wells is playing No. 2 doubles with junior Lane Murphy.

Freshman Devin McCormack has secured the No. 4 singles spot while junior Alex Agah, sophomore Katharine Wells, and freshman Riley Meyer will also see varsity matches this coming season.

Meanwhile, Paul Groves’ boy's squad opened its season on Tuesday with a road trip at perennial league power Brunswick. The result? A 6-1 Dragons victory that athletic director Tauni Butterfield claimed was GFA's first win over the Bruins in at least 13 years.

Up on top of the ladder of the boys, the team are two 4-star recruits and a 3-star recruit.

“We have a legitimate line-up,” Groves said. “We have kids playing double who in most instances could be some of our top singles players.”

Juju Wu, Lulu’s brother, is a 4-star recruit who is presently in the first singles slot while fellow 4-star Connor McDonald is expected to play No. 2. McDonald is taking his tennis talents to Boston College in the fall.

In the third singles, the slot is 3-star sophomore Davis McDonald, Connor’s brother, while 2-star recruit Miles Kennedy, also a sophomore, is expected to play in the fourth singles slot.

“There’s a lot of pride and pressure on the line,” Groves said of his top-tier talent.

Sophomore Mat Timashev and junior Albert Bostoen played for the FAA doubles championship two years ago and both are back and together in the No. 1 doubles slot.

Playing second doubles is senior Will Schadt and freshman Coleman Merce while the Brothers Lublinsky, Sam, and Joseph, a junior and freshman, respectively, shore up the third doubles spot.

“After seeing our improvement and adding a couple of players, we wanted to win the league and win New Englands,” Groves said of his team’s goals had this been a normal spring season. “I knew we were going to be in the mix. If it had come to fruition, who knows?”

Regardless of what kind of season it is this spring, GFA tennis will have plenty of stars on display each afternoon.