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Prep Wins 8th Straight Mayor's Cup

Friday, June 8, 2007  
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St. Francis Prep wins eighth straight Mayor’s Cup

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 5:54 PM CDT  The Queens Courier

St. Francis Prep girls tennis coach John Brennan hugged his players on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the U.S. National Tennis Center following the team’s eighth consecutive Mayor’s Cup title, 3-0, over Midwood.

“It’s a family atmosphere,” Brennan said after his players’ win streak reached an unthinkable 128 straight matches. One only had to watch his star pupil Shinann Featherston roll to a 6-0, 6-3 win over Laken King in first singles to find the thread holding the run together.

Featherston, 17, continued the legacy of sisters started by Martina and Ellenoira at St. Francis Prep. “We don’t talk about the wins that much,” she said. “But winning attracts people. Girls know what they have to do to come to the team.”

Brennan builds up a rapport with the players’ parents to promote the program. The team, however, lost three of its top players from last season including an unexpected departure from Carolina Koladzyn who left the school in January to attend The Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida - a pit stop for such notable greats as Andre Agassi and the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus.

“I was shocked,” Featherston said. “She’s a very ambitious girl and I wish her well.”

A talented junior ball striker, Featherston admitted she considered going to the academy but enjoys living in Rockaway too much to leave. Her familiarity with the local tennis scene proved beneficial in her match with King - the two have been competing for years and attended the same junior high school in Coney Island. King, whose twin sister Carlissa who also plays for Midwood, moved to Laurelton in the seventh grade but travels to Brooklyn for school.

“It’s frustrating and it’s always a tough match,” King said about her battles with Featherston. “It’s friendly. There is no animosity. We’re all family friends.”

Featherston cited a lapse in concentration at one point during the match but King has nothing but praise for arguably the top singles player in the city. “She’s always on the baseline and ready to attack and come in,” said King, who will be attending Elmhurst College next year. “She’s a great net player.”

The first doubles team of Madel Jurlano and Natalie Fouch won their match 6-1, 6-4 and in second singles, Shraddha Prabbu defeated Elizabeth Feldman, 7-5, 6-0, to clinch the Cup.

“Have you ever met a coach who gets tired of winning?” Brennan asked rhetorically. “I know I haven’t. It keeps on getting better.”

The Cardozo boys team, meanwhile, failed to capture its 13th Mayor’s Cup, losing to Horace Mann, 3-2, in the final.