Athlete of the Issue: Tommy Smith ’19

A bona fide leader and skilled tennis player, Tommy Smith has led the varsity tennis team to yet another successful season with a record of 11 wins and two losses.  Reflecting on his tennis origins, Tommy remembers playing tennis in the summers of his middle school years at his community house in Maine. As Tommy developed a stronger interest for the sport, however, he began to play more competitively, achieving varsity status in 10th grade.  Since then, Tommy has continued to grow into a remarkable player: in his Junior year, he was awarded the Most Improved Player Award, crediting his dramatic improvements over each season. This 2019 season is Tommy’s third on the team. As captain of the team, Tommy has had to adjust to a new leadership role. He states, “One of the great things is that we’ve had a lot of great leaders before.  This year, building off their examples, I am trying to step into a bigger role and help the team in any way possible.” Individually, playing number four singles and number two doubles for the team, Tommy has dominated at his position, compiling one of the league’s best records. In his time at Belmont Hill, Tommy has truly grown to become one of the most dominant players in the ISL, amassing one clutch victory after another.  One match, in particular, highlighted Tommy’s “veteran” leadership and mental toughness: when the Varsity tennis team was struggling to defeat Milton, one of the top teams in the ISL this season, Tommy clutched up in both his doubles and singles matches to secure two of the four points need to clinch the match. In doubles, with the overall doubles scores split one and one, Tommy and his doubles partner, Bobby Cooper ‘23, defeated their opponents 8-7 in a tiebreak to win the doubles point.  In singles, Tommy pulled out his match 10-8 in a third set tiebreak to clinch yet another doubles point for the team. Ultimately, Belmont Hill defeated Milton Academy 5-2 thanks to the efforts of senior captain Tommy Smith. On the team, Tommy is known as “Big Al”, after Al Horford on the Boston Celtics, for his impactful veteran locker room presence and clutch performance on the court. Reflecting on his last tennis season at Belmont Hill, Tommy asserted, “It has been a really great year overall.  Although earlier in the season, I expected the team to struggle with a new system, young team, and new first-year coach Nick Cary, everyone has adjusted really well and gave their best efforts. I am proud of how we have played and what we have achieved, and look forward to closing out the season on a positive note.” The varsity tennis team will truly miss Tommy’s presence both on and off the court, and we wish him the best as he continues his journey at Davidson next year.

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