NEWTOWN SQUARE >> After spending the first three years of high school in tennis academies in Florida, Elene Tsokilauri wanted a more normal school setting as she prepared for her future at Boston College.
That’s how Delaware County Christian School ended up with a PIAA Class AA singles champion.
“After my junior year I had already committed to Boston College and I just thought it might better prepare me for a college environment to be at a school with more rigorous academics,” Tsokilauri said at Delco Christian Wednesday after a ceremony at the school during which she officially signed her national letter of intent to go to BC. “Everybody on the team was so welcoming. It was a great experience.”
Tsokilauri is a native of the Republic of Georgia who arrived here at age 7 a year after her parents emigrated to the United States. About a year later, her tennis talent started to blossom.
At 5-10 with a lefty serve, Tsokilauri has been a top junior player in Middle States for a few years, rising to No. 1 in the under-16 ranks. She has represented Middle States at the prestigious Orange Bowl Tournament in Miami and at events in Aruba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Over the summer, she competed at the USTA Girls’ Nationals in San Diego and the USTA Girls’ National Clay Court Championships in Memphis.
She spent her freshman year at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. and her sophomore and junior years at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Naples, Fla.
So, Delco Christian was getting a seasoned player added to its roster and Tsokilauri performed like it. She barely broke a sweat on her way to the District One title, beating Nazareth Academy’s Alex Vo, a four-time district finalist and the defending champion, 6-2, 6-3, in the final.
It was more of the same last weekend at the Hershey Racquet Club as Tsokilauri stormed into the final with three straight-sets wins, dropping only seven games along the way. In the state final, Tsokilauri claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Lin Robertson, the District Three champion from Berks Catholic.
“I thought I could win a state championship, that was my goal,” Tsokilauri said. “It was a nice way to represent my school. (The final against Robertson) was probably my toughest match at Hershey. I had never played any of the girls I faced there before. I am friends with the girl who won the AAA title, (Shade Side Acdemy’s) Ananya Dua.”
Tsokilauri joins Eddie Roberts, a two-time state high jump champion, on the short list of individual state champions at Delco Christian.
Tsokilauri’s sparkling resume drew the attention of several Division I programs, but an unofficial visit to Boston College between her sophomore and junior years sealed the deal.
“I just fell in love with the school,” Tsokilauri said. “The coach Nigel Bentley is really good and he’s developed a lot of good players. And it’s a strong academic school. They have a very good business school and that’s what I want to study.”