2007-10-26 / Sports

Featherston,St.Francis Prep Win Tenth Straight Tennis Title

By Elio Velez

Shinann Featherston has logged a lot of traveling miles from her Rockaway Park home to Fresh Meadows, where St. Francis Prep High School is located.

When she enrolled at St. Francis Prep four years ago, Featherston joined the girls' tennis team, which had clinched their sixth CHSAA state title.

Last Tuesday at Alley Pond Park, Featherston and her Terriers continued the dynasty that's made her team a powerhouse.

Archbishop Molloy was the latest team to fall, as St. Francis Prep won their tenth-straight CHSAA state championship, 3 games to 0.

St. Francis has now won 141 straight games during coach John Brennan's 10 years at the helm.

Featherston has risen to the elite of tennis players throughout her four years.

When she joined as a freshman, her older sisters Ellenioira and Martina were already integral parts of the previous championship title teams at St. Francis.

Featherston's career has gone well with three straight Mayor's Cup individual titles in the bag, and just recently making a verbal committing to the University of North Carolina. Featherston finished her high school career just as it started. Undefeated.

"It's really fun. We worked hard today, especially since we lost three good players from last year," Featherston said.

Featherston chose the University of North Carolina because she liked the diversity of the school and 30,000 students who attend the Chapel Hill campus.

The competitive nature of the ACC Conference attracted her to choose the school as well.

The Tar Heels finished 12th in the national rankings in the spring of 2007 but their rivals at Georgia Tech won the NCAA championship

Some pundits have regarded the ACC as the best conference in the NCAA. Featherston is convinced that UNC head coach Brian Kalbas will get the best out of her ability.

"I want to see how good I can get over the four years. I don't want to go to college and have my peak in high school," Featherston said. "I want to try to be an All-American and help this team do well. I thought that the coaches at UNC would help and academically, it will do well for me."

Winning Tradition

What can't be forgotten is that St. Francis is not just reliant on Featherston alone. Their tremendous depth and talent has just been too much for opponents to handle.

Molloy, who had only started their program three years ago and won the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan championship last Monday, were eager to play. St. Francis didn't have the services of second singles player Shraddha Prabhu. They also had three new players on the court this season.

But Molloy was just simply outmatched and fell to defeat.

"I like to win. Some teams just have one good player. We have plenty of them," Terriers coach John Brennan said.

"I'm extremely proud of the accomplishment of winning for ten years."

Brennan wants to play some of the better public and private girls' tennis programs throughout the area. He doesn't dismiss or put down the teams he faces in the CHSAA.

It's just a reality that after ten years, Brennan is looking to find a team that can challenge his players.

He's tried to call some and arrange exhibition games against some of the better Long Island schools.

To his dismay, Brennan's phone calls don't get returned.

"You like to win and I'm happy about it, but I wouldn't mind a bit more competitiveness," Brennan said.

Maybe his team's winning reputation scare off some schools from competing against them. Since Brennan can't get a definite answer, the only thing he can focus on is to keep the streak alive at the Mayor's Cup next June.

And it doesn't look like it will end anytime soon, even with Featherston, who he calls the best player he has seen in 20 years, departing. "They're class acts," Brennan said about his players. "I like when they win, but I like it when they win with class."

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