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Spring Signing Week '17: Signing Week Arrives

The second week of April is here - and Signing Week has finally arrived!

This Wednesday, April 12th, is Signing Day - the first day in 2017 that high school seniors can formally commit to a Division I or Division II tennis program. The past month Tennis Recruiting and GAMMA have been counting down the days, but today we launch our coverage of Spring Signing Week '17.

In this first article, we take a look at our schedule for the week, and we also update you on the status of the top 100.


Signing Week Coverage

All week, TennisRecruiting.net and GAMMA will bring you new features on the seniors. Take a look at our coverage schedule - and then get up-to-date on the Top 100...


Top 100 Update

The vast majority of the top 100 - boys and girls - had already made their college decisions when we checked in with them in March.

We have tried to get in touch with the undecideds in the meantime, and today we take one last look at their status before the big day on Wednesday. Let's take a look at the lists...


Boys' Status (as of April 8, 2017)

The table below shows the updated status of the Top 100 recruits who were undecided in mid-March. The Commitment column shows whether the recruit has made a verbal commitment or is undecided, while the Interests column indicates schools of interest. Rankings shown are not current rankings - but rather rankings from late March when we ran our first articles.

2 Benjamin Sigouin Considering Turning Pro Open
3 Gianni Ross No Decisions Soon Open
7 Alafia Ayeni Deciding Soon Open
18 Sebastian Arcila   Open
28 Brian Berdusco Announcing 4/13 Central Florida, Michigan, Pepperdine
36 Nathan Perrone   Open
41 Kirac Bekisoglu   Open
57 Conrad Russell Deciding This Summer Open
58 Ajai Shekhera Announcing 4/12 Columbia, Princeton, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara
60 Noah Makarome   Open
63 Rafael Bejar Levy   Open
84 Hayden Cassone Emory Emory
94 Yash Parikh   Open
100 Kento Perera Stanford Stanford

Girls' Status (as of April 8, 2017)

Below we see the status for the Top 100 girls. The table uses the same format as the boys' table above. Once again, rankings shown are not current rankings - but rather rankings from late March.

2 Usue Arconada Considering Pro Tennis Open
3 Sofia Sewing   Open
5 Kariann Pierre-Louis   Open
13 Janice Shin Announcing 4/12 Florida, Michigan, Northwestern, Rice, Stanford, Texas, Vanderbilt
17 Jada Robinson January 2018 Open
31 Riley McQuaid Announcing 4/12 Open
41 Hind Abdelouahid January 2018 Colorado, Howard, Michigan State, Northern Arizona, Pacific (CA), St. Mary's (CA), UC Santa Barbara
48 Emilee Duong Deciding Soon Open
69 Dohee Lee Pacific (CA) Pacific (CA)
95 Danielle Obolevitch Penn Penn

Comments and Observations

When we spoke with the Top 100 last month, there were 24 recruits remaining on the board - 14 boys and 10 girls. As you can see from the charts above, there has been some movement on both the boys' and girls' sides of the house. Two boys and two girls have announced their decisions since March, with more to come beginning Signing Day.

Kento Perera and Hayden Cassone announced their commitments to Stanford and Emory, respectively. On the girls' side, Danielle Obolevitch and Dohee Lee made their descisions to attend the University of Pennsylvania and University of the Pacific.

For Perera, a 4-Star prospect out of San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, Calif., the decision came down to elite institutions Stanford and Harvard. The 17-year-old scholar-athlete ultimately decided to stay in-state and head to Palo Alto and the Stanford Cardinal.


Hayden Cassone has committed to Emory
Cassone an Eagle

Hayden Cassone, who trains at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York, decided in March to head to Atlanta to join the top-ranked Emory Eagles.

Cassone will bring a wealth of experience to Emory, posting six collective wins at the 2016 USTA Clay Court, Hard Court and Winter Nationals. But the 6'2" right-hander is excited about team tennis.

"I've had a lot of great moments and a lot of great wins over the years," said Cassone. "But I'd have to say my proudest moment was when my team won Zonals. I loved the fact that I was able to win with my friends - and we could all go home with the victory."

Cassone was sold on Emory - both the school and the tennis program - during his campus visits.

"It's a top 20 academic university with a great business school and a highly ranked tennis team," said Cassone. "[Head Coach John Browning] and the coaching staff are very dedicated, and the rigorous training schedule will allow me to continue to improve."

Cassone hopes to help the Eagles - who are currently ranked No. 1 and last won the NCAA Team Title in 2012 - sitting high on its perch.

"I just want to help put wins on the board. Hopefully I can contribute towards Emory maintaining that No. 1 ranking - and I'd love to play in the NCAA tournament in singles and doubles."

As Cassone prepares for college tennis in a different part of the country, he reflected back on what tennis has given him.

"Tennis has always been a huge part of my life - it's taught me to be a fierce competitor, a strategist, and a team player," said Cassone. "I want to thank my father who's been my coach and mentor, and now I'm looking forward to the next chapter with my college career."


Heading to Philly

For most highly-ranked junior tennis players, summer after junior year and fall of senior year are incredibly busy times for tennis and college recruiting. Not so for Danielle Obolevitch. She was extremely busy putting together her Common App materials.

"I haven't played tournaments since October because I decided not to pursue recruiting," said Obolevitch. "I began writing all of my college essays while keeping my grades up."

The North Miami Beach resident is an outstanding tennis player - a Florida high school champion with a career high ranking of No. 60 nationally in the Class of 2017. But she is also an outstanding student who did not want to compromise on her academic interests.

"I'm really happy about my decision to stop pursuing recruiting because I realized my tennis career and achievements already looked great on my application," she said. "I also focused a lot in school and will graduate Cum Laude [in the top 20% of her class]."

In the end, Obolevitch could not be more excited about heading to the University of Pennsylvania next year.

"It was honestly one of the best schools that I got into," said the 5'7" right-hander. "I always knew I wanted to go to an Ivy League or top tier school - but one near a city. I think the academics at Penn are amazing, and it has a good mix of campus and city life."

Tennis is also a possibility at Penn.

"I only spoke to [Head Coach] Sanela [Kunovac] and her assistant coach a few times, siad Obolevitch. "But if I decide to walk on the team, I'll be excited to join because I know they would provide me with a great team and coaching experience."

What's next for Obolevitch? A visit to campus later this week.

"I'm going up this Wednesday for Quaker Days, and I can't wait. I want others to know that having a balance between tennis and academics is extremely important, and that walking on a team is always an option. Walking on gives you more schools to choose from. Tennis will always be a huge part of my life, even if I don't play varsity tennis all four years."


Dohee Lee has committed to Pacific (CA)
Tiger by the Tail

For 5-Star senior Dohee Lee, the decision to head to Northern California and the Pacific Tigers came down to the connections she formed so naturally over a short time.

"I think my biggest factor in my decision to attend Pacific was when I met the girls," said Lee. "They were so nice - and they made me feel like family as soon as I met them. And talking to coach Tina [Samara] and the staff at Pacific, I know that I will be able to grow and improve as a player. I was able to connect really quickly with everyone at Pacific - they made it feel like home from the start."

Lee also has many connections in her home state of Kansas, and so the decision to leave for California was a difficult one.

"I am really thankful for my family, Coach Simon [Norman], Coach Tony [Tsymbalov], and the Missouri Valley Section," said Lee. "I'm blessed to have all of these people in my life - and I have really had a lot of support from all of them.

"I strongly considered Wichita State," she continued. "It is close to my house, and I know the coach and most of the girls on the team really well. But Pacific just felt like the best choice for me."

When she heads to Pacific this coming Fall, Lee will bring a positive attitude that coaches love to see.

"Honestly my goal is to compete hard, work hard, and be a good teammate."


More to Come

On Wednesday and Thursday, we will get commitment announcements from four more recruits in our Top 100. On Wednesday we will hear from Ajai Shekhera, Janice Shin, and Riley McQuaid - and then on Thursday Brian Berdusco announces his decision.


And We're Off ...

Signing Week is under way, which means that we have wall-to-wall content. Come by later today at 1pm Eastern / 10am Pacific hear from comments from 5-Star senior Austin Barr of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, who has committed to Williams for Fall 2017. Come back later for that one - and let Tennis Recruiting and GAMMA bring you exclusive coverage of Spring Signing Week 2017!



GAMMA is proud to sponsor the Countdown to Signing Day series of articles at TennisRecruiting.net.

Greatness is a Unique Path at GAMMA

GAMMA is a privately owned company with over a 40-year history of developing innovative products for players of all levels. Best known for GAMMA high performance irradiated tennis string, today GAMMA markets and sells an entire line of over 5,000 products including GAMMA racquets, strings, racquet accessories, tennis balls, grips, vibration dampeners, Ball Hopper® ball baskets and teaching carts, court equipment, and 10 and Under teaching aids.

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Colette Lewis has covered topflight junior events as a freelance journalist for over a decade. Read her weekly column, follow her on Twitter, and and find more of her daily commentary at ZooTennis.

Page updated on Monday, November 06, 2017
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