Thomas Jefferson tennis player aces academic competition, wins Saint Vincent scholarship

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Sunday, April 24, 2022 | It was 9:01 AM


Thomas Jefferson senior Anthony Sparta does not cause a racket on the tennis court.

He makes his most noise in the classroom with an impressive 5.0 GPA this year and a cumulative GPA of 4.65.

Sparta was one of five students awarded a scholarship to St. Vincent’s Latrobe as a result of the college’s 41st annual Wimmer Scholarship Competition.

As a first-place finisher in the competition, which has nearly 100 entrants, Sparta has been awarded a four-year, full-tuition, room and board scholarship valued at more than $ 200,000. He plans to study chemistry in college.

“I’m incredibly grateful to receive the Wimmer Scholarship,” Sparta said. “I actually visited St. Vincent College several times, so I’m thrilled to go there. I have already learned that before learning, I won, and I met with faculty and administration a number of times. So it was a great experience to be recognized by some of the same people that I heard about.

“The competition was actually broken up into three parts. One was an open-ended math, one was an essay analyzing an excerpt from Mark Twain, and the final was 100 questions of general knowledge, ranging from history and science to philosophy. ”

Sparta learned of his scholarship as a high school student at Heather Kabala, St. Vincent’s director of admissions, his parents (Chris and Donna) and AP Physics classmates.

Sparta is a four-year member of the TJ boys tennis team and volunteer as a junior tennis clinic every summer. The Jaguars for the third singles position at He competes.

“Tony is very athletic,” said Chuck Correll, TJ’s veteran coach. “His backhand is very good, and his ground strokes are very consistent. He has been a valuable volunteer for the last four years of summer tennis. He was a young middle school player for a motivator. Tony is also a great role model for a team of young players. He has a quiet, show-by-example personality.

“Tony really deserves the award he is receiving. He is a great person. His strong family influence is responsible for Tony’s great moral integrity. I am very impressed with the respect he shows everyone. ”

Thomas Jefferson recently defeated rival South Park to remain undefeated in section play.

“Our tennis season is going very well,” Sparta said. “We’re going to finish at the top of our section, and we’re looking forward to the playoffs.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been struggling with a calf injury. … Overall, it’s been a great season, and we’re going to keep the momentum going. ”

Sparta has been playing tennis since the sixth grade and is the only tennis player in his family. The TJ senior doesn’t plan to continue his career in college.

“I honestly haven’t been planning on playing in college since most of my time,” he said.

Sparta enjoys working with young students in his community, serving as a Math 24 Competition for local area middle school students and volunteering at a Future Problem-Solving Program workshop to introduce new students to the problem-solving competition.

Sparta is a National Merit Scholarship finalist. He has been recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction and is a member of the National Honor Society.

“Regarding being a National Merit finalist, I haven’t heard back about the scholarship,” Sparta said. “I’m honestly grateful to be a finalist. It’s an opportunity I never really imagined. ”

Sparta is also a member of the AP Humanities and History Clubs and President of TJ’s STEM Club, an addition to the Varsity Academic League team.

He has been a member of the Pennsylvania Future Problem-Solving Team since middle school and has gone to the state finals several times.

Sparta is also active in mock trial and receiving recognition as a “top witness” last year.

“I’m sure Saint Vincent has a mock trial team, so if I can join in to love, it’s possible,” he said.

The TJ boys tennis team was 9-0 and atop its 1-2 schedule with three matches remaining. WPIAL team playoffs begin May 2.

“Last year, we were a team made up of mostly juniors,” Correll said. “I hope the experience from last year will help us be much better. We are having a tremendous season. ”

Seniors of The Jaguars’ starting lineup Drew Dimidjian at first singles, Chris Pham at second singles and Sparta at third. Dimidjian won the section singles championship.

“Drew is a complete game with a dominant player,” Correll said. “His strength is his serve and severe topspin ground strokes. He was a state singles qualifier last year.

“Chris has improved his control and has become a very good baseline player. Every point on the hustles. And Tony has been a very consistent player for TJ. He is a lefty, which makes him very difficult for his opponents. His backhand is very good and has a lot of pace. ”

Senior Luke Georgulis and junior Gavin Sweeney compete for first doubles for the Jaguars and have not lost a set this season.

“They’re both strong servers and great net players,” Correll said. “Luke hits very good cross-court returns. Gavin is the baseline from Good. They are a very good combination and have dominated their opponents. ”

Three players – seniors Nick Muffi and Joe Woderak and junior Kyle Siler – second doubles at rotation.

“Nick is without a doubt the most improved player on the team,” Correll said. “His ground strokes are very good, especially his cross court return. Nick also has a very good serve.

“Joe has been really important to our team. He has managed to improve the spate of other commitments at the beginning of the season. His forehand has been dominant and his serve has been good.

“And Kyle is one of the best athletes on the team. He is a relentless hustler. He is all over the court and keeps the team in the match. His ground strokes are solid and he is very aggressive at the net. ”

Correll is retiring from the coaching ranks following the 2022 spring season.

“We will be in the playoffs and should be in the top four teams,” he said. “This season has been awesome. What a great year, my last season. ”

The Wimmer Scholarship Program is named for Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, who founded St. Vincent College in 1846 as the first Benedictine College in the United States.

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