Sean Palermo, the No. 1 singles player for the Lenape Valley Regional High School boys tennis team, demonstrates time and again that he is a standout on the court and mature beyond his years.
Palermo, just a sophomore, is a team captain of the Patriots.
Head coach Dan Moylan is quite proud of the leadership he has displayed.
“Sean is an outstanding student athlete who is a leader both on and off the courts,’’ he said. “Both Sean and No. 2 singles Matt Walter reached the quarterfinals of the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex County Tournament.’’
Palermo began his competitive journey in tennis at about 8 years old.
“When I started playing the game my first year, I found myself doing quite well compared to the other kids my age and enjoying the sport a lot as I played,’’ he said. “This is what encouraged me to continue playing the sport to this day.
“As a left-handed player, I have a natural strength to challenge other players in the game because most players are right-handed and have difficulty returning balls hit with the opposite spin.
“Another strength I feel I have is excelling in a single-player environment, which is what most of the game is based on, mixed with some doubles and team play.’’
Palermo works steadily to improve various aspects of his tennis game.
“One of the aspects of the sport I strive to improve upon in my practices is mainly both consistency and power,’’ he said. “These two attributes are ones that, while I can do at a moderately decent level, still can be improved through repetition.
“Some of my personal goals for this current season include playing the best I can during my matches and trying to win the most games I can and ultimately trying to make it to the (New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association) state individual tournament like I did last year.’’
Palermo is optimistic about what he and his teammates can accomplish this season.
“One goal that I want to see my team achieve this season is to get better at the game during our time together through the many drills that we use for repetition and the verbal instruction that is used to create a better understanding of the mechanics of the strokes used in the game,’’ he said.
“Another thing I would like to see this year is for more of the kids on our team to secure a spot in the state tournament and increase the overall record of the team from last year, as I believe our team has made significant progress and can achieve some of, if not both, of these goals.’’
A strong role model has helped propel him throughout his athletic career.
“Probably one of the most major positive influences on my career is my dad, who also plays the game,’’ he said. “In fact, one of the most positive memories that really sticks with me is the time my dad and I got first place in a father-son tournament. It was my first ever tournament win and encouraged me to continue to play and get better to play as well as him.’’
The Patriots are scheduled to host High Point on Wednesday, May 10.
“Overall the team has made tremendous strides in all facets of their games,’’ Moylan said. “The team constantly challenges each other on a daily basis in practice both in drills and games.’’
Another thing I would like to see this year is for more of the kids on our team to secure a spot in the state tournament and increase the overall record of the team from last year ... .” - Sean Palermo, captain, Lenape Valley Regional High School boys tennis team