Dylan Ander, of Hewlett, has been a fan of tennis since he was four years old.
He said he witnessed his first tennis match while watching television with his dad.
"He was flipping through the channels one day and happened to land on a professional singles match," Ander said. "When I saw it, I knew that I wanted to be a tennis player, and said, 'dad that is the game I want to play when I get older.'"
And he stayed true to his word — playing every year since that declaration. He competed as a freshman and sophomore at . This past season he played for the Lynbrook High School varsity team in the second singles spot. He helped lead the Owls to the Conference 2B semifinals.
"Dylan has meant so much to this team," said Lynbrook coach Dale Pascarelli. "He has been our main guy this year helping us pull out a lot of tough wins. He helped us get a lot of those close 4-3 victories."
Ander has won three different awards in tennis, the most recent one for coming in first place in the boys 16 and under division in the United States Tennis Association Eastern Regionals. He was honored in May at their annual awards dinner.
He attributes his tennis success to hard work on and off the court.
"In the beginning of 2010 I was barely a ranked player," he said. "I had the burning desire within me to finish on top though and I proved to myself that I had the potential to finish first in the Long Island region."
Ander also achieved another great feat this past January, rising to the 47th spot on the Prince's Hot 100 list, which includes players from all over the country that play excellent tennis in any given month and quickly move up the rankings.
Besides being an avid and talented tennis player, Ander also plays four instruments in his high school's jazz band. If he does not pursue tennis as a career, Ander said he plans to major in neuro psychiatry.
He said he hopes to continue playing tennis in college when he graduates in 2012.
This summer he will take recruiting trips to Union College, Stony Brook and Hofstra, among others.
"My hard work and dedication helped me grow as a person, as well as a tennis player," he said, "and this award stretches further than just winning tournaments and finishing with the highest ranking by the end of 2010."
Five other local athletes names were also recognized at the USTA awards dinner:
Ruth Freilich, Lawrence, Girls #2 16s
Shlomi Gutman, Hewlett, #1 mens singles 3.5, 4.0
Rodolfo Novello, Lawrence, #2 singles 30s
Barry Brahver, Lawrence, mens #1 doubles 50s, #2 doubles 55s
David J. Brent, Woodmere, #1 doubles 55s