Jun. 22—For the second straight season, Thomas Jefferson's Ian Ding has been named the Globe's high school boys tennis player of the year.
This time for the 2021-22 school year.
A senior, Ding wrapped up a decorated career by finishing in third place with Tyler Brouhard in the doubles bracket at the MSHSAA Class 2 State Tournament last month at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.
"Ian's very deserving of what he gets," Thomas Jefferson coach Tom Brumfield said. "He's put in a lot of time and effort throughout his high school career. He's just grown as an individual. He became the leader of our team and took on a lot of responsibility. I was just very impressed with not only his play, but just his growth as a person."
The Cavaliers posted a 13-3 record in dual matches — with their most notable setback coming against Barstow in the Class 2 District 7 championship match.
Barstow was bumped up to Class 2 after winning a state championship in Class 1 last season.
At state, TJ's duo lost its semifinals match to Ladue's Brian Tokarczyk and Amit Kadan. Ding and Brouhard dropped the first set 6-4 before claiming the second 6-3 to knot things at one apiece.
Ladue's duo won the tiebreaker 10-4.
In the third-place match, Ding and Brouhard took care of business. TJ's duo downed Parkway West's Kai Daudsyah and Winston Gao 6-3 and 6-1 to cap a 27-3 campaign in doubles.
"They do a great job together," Brumfield said of Ding and Brouhard. "Ian is the experienced one, who can keep things under control and can change things if needed. He's a great shot maker who can give his partner opportunities at the net. This made it perfect for Tyler, who is tall and can cover a lot of net.
"Both have big serves, which give opportunities at the net. Volleying is so important in doubles, which both excelled. It's not easy to find two guys that understand doubles and have the game to back it up. One of the most exciting parts of each match was watching those two play doubles together. I will definitely miss that next year."
Ding, who went 12-2 in singles this spring, was a state qualifier in singles as just a freshman. After his sophomore campaign was wiped out due to COVID-19, he took fourth in singles as a junior.
He played No. 1 singles all season as the Cavaliers posted one of their best seasons in school history last year, going 15-1 in dual matches and winning the district championship.
Thomas Jefferson's lone loss came against Priory in the state championship match — the Cavaliers' first season in Class 2.
Ding certainly left a legacy at Thomas Jefferson.
"He's definitely one of our all-time leaders," Brumfield said. "Even though he got robbed of that sophomore year, he accumulated a lot of wins. Everybody knew him. He brought a lot of recognition to the team, for sure."