• The Sun’s 2013 High School Tennis Players of the Year

    By John Boothe
    Published: Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.



    Soon after trying out for the Buchholz girls tennis team, Kendal Wilby had to raise her expectations for her first year in a Bobcats uniform. To Wilby’s surprise, she locked up the Bobcats’ No. 1 singles slot as a freshman and marched to an 11-1 record before falling in the Class 4A state meet as an individual quarterfinalist. In one of Buchholz’s most dominant performances of the year, Wilby helped lead the Bobcats to a District 1-4A championship with her titles in No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. After going 12-0 as a team in the regular season, Buchholz continued its perfect run by winning all 21 matches in the tournament. While the Bobcats missed out on a team berth to the state meet, Wilby advanced to Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs behind the strength of her individual and doubles performances. “It was kind of mixed feelings, because I really wanted my team to come with me (to the state meet),” Wilby said. “But then again, I was really happy because as a freshman I was really excited that my first year I had made it to state. Even in doubles, me and my partner made it to state.”

    Personal notes

    While Wilby has excelled from an early age on the tennis court, her family background is steeped in the swimming pool. Both of Wilby’s parents are former University of Kentucky swimmers. Her father, Martyn Wilby, is an associate head coach with the UF men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, while her mother, Jill Wilby, currently helps run the Gator Swim Club.


    “I didn’t really know what the level was of high school tennis when I first started. Once I kind of got a feel for everything, it kind of changed because I knew I could do really well. It made my goals higher.” — Kendal Wilby



    Before he could win a state championship, Zach Goldberg had to first edge one of his teammates in a position battle. The 6-foot, 150-pound Goldberg entered his final season at Gainesville unsure whether he or fellow senior Cole Fiegel would hold the mantle as the team’s No. 1 singles player this year. While Goldberg ultimately won the job back for the first time since his sophomore year, he used the preseason competition to spark the Hurricanes on a torrid run through the Class 3A ranks. Goldberg — who lost just once this year — advanced to the state championship match for the fourth straight season where he claimed the Class 3A No. 1 team singles title. Behind Goldberg’s individual championship, and runner-up result in No. 1 doubles with Peter Slaton, Gainesville finished second overall at the Class 3A state meet behind two-time defending champion Naples Barron Collier. Goldberg reeled off 22 straight wins this season — including District 5-3A and Region 3-3A title victories — before losing in the overall state singles title match to No. 1 individual champion Dan Stefan of Boca Ciega.

    Goldberg, who was the Sun’s 2011 Boys Tennis Player of the Year, signed last November to play tennis at the University of North Florida. He plans to major in exercise science. Along with his daily training routine, Goldberg said he wants to play in as many adult tournaments as possible this summer to prepare for college, beginning with a Futures tournament in Melbourne from June 10-16.


    “Moving into state we were all playing pretty well, so we thought we had a good chance to win state, but we came up short. We were all watching each other during the final day when we were close. During the morning, we saw that we ended up losing, but we were all watching each other because everyone did well at state.” — Zach Goldberg


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