River Hill tennis teams complete undefeated regular seasons; Hawks earn County Cup and regional title

May 18—River Hill tennis entered this season coming off a historic 2022 campaign.

The Hawks captured the first state team title in program history, returning several impact players on both the boys and girls side. Alex Artazov, last season's Class 3A boys singles state champion, headlined the returners for the boys, while Adele Lair, Priyanka Ramulu and Adelaide Houston each brought key experience for the girls. Houston and Ramulu won a girls doubles state title.

Blending those experienced players with new ones, both the boys and girls teams flourished. They each completed 16-0 regular seasons, maintaining that momentum into the County Cup, winning the title with 44 points.

River Hill also captured the Class 3A East Region II team title with four regional champions. Artazov won boys singles with a pair of 6-0, 6-0 wins. Connor Chun and Roger He won boys doubles, dropping just three total games in three matches. Ramulu and Houston won the girls doubles title with a 6-0, 6-0 final, and Lair and Jai Khanna won the mixed doubles regional crown.

"I think that we definitely have a lot of talent new and old," River Hill coach Kelley Pfefferkorn said. "I think what's important to me is how well our team works together. I can pair different doubles partners together and feel confident that they're going to collaborate and work together well on the court. Same thing if somebody needs to play singles and they're usually a doubles player, I'm able to really count on them to step up and play where I need them to play and be successful."

After their regular-season dominance, the Hawks boys swept all five competitions at the County Cup. Artazov and Aaron Zhao won the No. 1 and No. 2 singles titles, respectively. It was Artazov's first County Cup title. The Hawks' doubles pairings of Jai Khanna and Carson Campbell, Wesley Weinberg and Simar Sawhney, and Ryan Ferrer and Prathik Alturi each won at No. 1, 2 and 3 doubles, respectively.

"My mentality was this year I wanted to win it all because I hadn't won the County Cup before and I definitely was really motivated to make sure the team had their success there," Artazov said. "It's not so much about the returners, it's more about the new players that we have this year that didn't play last year and they've had a great impact. For the returners, everyone that did come back has been playing a lot better and contributed. I'm grateful that I was able to have such a great cast, while I'm also playing well myself."

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The Hawks girls also shined at the County Cup. Lair was runner-up finish in No. 1 singles. Just like the boys, the girls doubles pairings of Ramulu and Houston, Pooja Swamykumar and Julian Kim, and Ella Jiao and Elinor Tu swept No. 1, 2 and 3 doubles.

Pfeffekorn was able to rotate players between singles and doubles, providing great flexibility. For example, Lair played a majority of the regular season at No. 1 singles, but will be playing mixed doubles at states.

"I think that's very important because obviously they're two very different positions," Lair said. "A lot of our team, I'd say almost anybody can switch between singles and doubles. Everybody's been played at different spots and they've all done very well. I play a lot of USTA tournaments, where I play singles and doubles, so I've had a lot of experience with both. Since I mainly only play singles during the regular season, it will be nice to have a change."

River Hill now turns its attention to states, with multiple individual and team goals. Artazov will look to defend his state singles title and put the finishing touches on his first undefeated season. Ramulu and Houston also have an opportunity to repeat as state doubles champions, while the Hawks are also focused on defending their state team title.

"It's an exciting opportunity to know because now we've had a taste of what that is and what that looks like," Pfefferkorn said. "I feel really confident and I'm optimistic going into it. We're putting out really strong competitors and we're excited to see how we do in the postseason."