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TENNIS: Federal Way's Mitch Stewart wins USTA National Clay Court Championship
Federal Way High School junior-to-be Mitch Stewart added a huge title to his ever-growing trophy case Sunday when he won the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Boys 16s National Clay Court Championship.
The third-seeded Stewart, who hails from Miami, beat 13th-seeded Baker Newman in the championship, 6-1, 6-2, at the Delray Beach International Tennis Center in Florida.
“I definitely thought I had a good chance to win it,” Stewart told tennisrecruiting.net. “I have been playing good ball lately. I’ve been grinding and my fitness has been good and I am using my legs more than other people. I felt I had to keep fighting and make every point count.”
Stewart, who is ranked fifth in the country by the USTA and 9th on the AthleticDNA College Recruiting List, became the first player from Washington to win a clay court boys’ 16-under title since the tournament began in 1967.
“This is definitely the sweetest thing,” said Stewart, who lost in the doubles quarterfinals with Spencer Furman in Florida. “That was one of my first goals I wanted to achieve. It is the biggest accomplishment I have ever had in my life.”
The National Clay Court Championship comes on the heels of Stewart rolling through the 2012 season unbeaten at Federal Way. His sophomore season culminated with the Class 4A state championship at the Columbia Basin Racquet Club in the Tri-Cities. He beat Skyview’s Kent Andreasen in the final, 6-2, 6-3, to finish the year 25-0.
The win gave Stewart the state title that eluded him as a freshman. Stewart lost his only high school match of his two-year career to Jackson’s Michael Chamerski in the 4A championship. In total, Stewart is 50-1 at Federal Way.
Chamerski did not turn out for Jackson’s tennis team as a senior to concentrate more on playing national tournaments. Chamerski has already signed to play in the fall at the University of Washington.
According to tennisrecruiting.net, Stewart has already narrowed his college choices to four of the most powerful programs in the nation — Duke, Georgia, UCLA and Washington.
“I definitely want to go and play tennis in college,” Stewart said. “And, if I can, I want to go pro.”
Stewart is set to play at the USTA National Junior Tennis Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. starting Aug. 4.