Player of the year finalists

Listed alphabetically, here are the three finalists for the 2019 All-World Boys Tennis Player of the Year. All three are invited to the third All-World Awards banquet on June 22, where the winner will be announced. Click here to buy tickets to the All-World Awards banquet.

Mert Arabaci

Stillwater, Junior

Turkey’s No. 1-ranked U16 player arrived to give the Pioneers their first individual boys state champion. Went 38-0 to win the 6A No. 1 singles title, never losing a set. Won 19 matches by scores of 6-0, 6-0. Also captured the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference No. 1 singles crown. A member of Turkey’s Junior Davis Cup team, came to America on a visa secured by his father, a physical education professor conducting research as a visiting scholar at Oklahoma State University.

Aaron Brewer

Riverfield Country Day, Senior

Won the 5A No. 1 singles title as a senior after finishing runner-up as a junior and had a 41-5 mark over two seasons. A two-year All-World finalist. Won 22 of his final 24 matches in 2019 and avenged a pair of losses to Heritage Hall’s Will Kaiser, by winning 6-1, 6-4 in the state final. Didn’t lose a set in postseason play. Did online schooling before enrolling at Riverfield as a junior. Ranked 23rd in the Gulf States Region by Tennis Recruiting Network. Signed with Oklahoma Baptist University.

Gabriel Willbourn

Jenks, Senior

Won a third state title in as many seasons, teaming with Caylor Hessen to capture the 6A No. 2 doubles crown, also helping fuel Jenks’ second-place team finish. Went 23-0 as a sophomore to win the 6A No. 1 singles title and was chosen inaugural All-World tennis player of the year. A three-year All-World finalist, went 12-3 as a junior, winning the No. 2 singles title. “Relentless. Does not concede a point,” coach Ron Acebo said. Signed with Cameron University.

First team

• Mert Arabaci, Jr., Stillwater

• Jack Atherton, Sr., Holland Hall

• Aaron Brewer, Sr., Riverfield Country Day

• Ashwin Chandrasekar, Fr., Union

• Hunter Henry, Fr., Cascia Hall

• Cole Knutsen, Jr., Riverfield Country Day

• Dominic Roman, Sr., Bishop Kelley

• Rohan Shrestha, Fr., Holland Hall

Doubles: Gabriel Willbourn, Sr., and Caylor Hessen, Jr., Jenks

Doubles: Matthew Gawey, Sr., and Zachary Vaughn, Sr., Bishop Kelley

Coach of the year

Tyler BellBishop Kelley

Recently started a new career in data analysis and is leaving the education field on a high note. Guided Comets to a tie for the 5A state team title, led by a second consecutive No. 1 doubles crown from Matthew Gawey and Zachary Vaughn. Said Comets’ first boys team title in nine years “meant a lot to me because we had been close before.” Also had two runner-up and two third-place team finishes in seven years at the Comets’ helm and coached tennis for five seasons (four as head coach) at Edison, his high school alma mater. Studied business and received his master’s degree from Oklahoma State University in 2004. He and wife, Beth, have two daughters, 6 and almost 2 years old.

Honorable mention

Bartlesville: Alex Le, Luke Epperson, Dax Butler, Jesse James, Tony Morina, Cooper Williams.

Beggs: Aydon Andrews.

Bishop Kelley: Alec Rule, Griffin Been, Ben Jones.

Bixby: Blake Hopp, Kaden Smith; Josh Bradshaw, Ryan Powers.

Booker T. Washington: Josey Orford, Ishan Pasricha, Gabriel Prado.

Bristow: Tommy Evans.

Broken Arrow: Carson Thoma; Sawyer Paris; Harrison St. Clair, Nathan Zilmer, Konnor Collins, Cole Huebert.

Cascia Hall: Aiden Robinson, Logan De Los Santos, Blake Van Doren, Brock Hannagan, Conner Wood.

Claremore: Micah Sloan; Tanner Steidley, Owen McElwain, James Stout, Monty Hughes, Preston Peck.

Edison: Jack Conway, Jackson Gilliam.

Henryetta: Jordan Osterdock, Jordan Knox, Keaton Lollis, Colten Wion, Grant Holder, John Ritter.

Holland Hall: Matthew Nguyen, Tyler Tan, Ruston Farrington, Robert Ragland.

Jenks: Patrick Bernius, Chaden Hessen, Andrew Carter, Ethan Grunst.

Metro Christian: Max Moody, Jeff Scavona, Colten Adams, John Greene, David Clonts, Jonathan Wilson.

Muskogee: Keke Arnett, Konner Rowan, Preston Callahan, Josh Garner.

Nowata: Gadge Littlefield, Dillon Barnes.

Oologah: Daniel Long, Cameron Doyle, Konner Davis, Jared Taylor, Brennen Davis, Cody Elrod.

Owasso: Blake Carter, Ash Harbert, Jake Swanson, Eric Wall, Jacob Kendall, Sam Perkins.

Pryor: Cason Douglas, Ethan Olsen.

Regent Prep: Trenton Sullivent, Noah Muckey, Duvan Boshoff, Michael O’Dea, Cade Anderson, Jarrett Smith.

Rejoice Christian: Collin Rowten, Lincoln Wright.

Riverfield Country Day: Cooper Knutsen, Dylan Patterson, Tariq Bedri, Shashwat Singh.

Sand Springs: Logan Bateman, Colby Williamson.

Skiatook: Ben Seyller, Markus Minshall, Roman Powell, Cole Burris, Kaden Neil.

Stillwater: Braden Young.

Tahlequah: Jaden Carroll, Trenton Hunter, Chase Miller.

Union: Aaron Boyington, Kevin Gannon, Rushabh Verulkar, Sloan French, Bryce Mitsdarfer.

Wagoner: Kaine Freeny, Braden Drake, Logan Sterling, Kaden Charboneau, Collin Condict.

Previous winners

Player of the Year

2018: Graydon Lair, Jenks

2017: Gabriel Willbourn, Jenks

2016: Zeke Clark, Riverfield Country Day

2015: Jackson Fine, Metro Christian

2014: Jackson Fine, Metro Christian

2013: Zeke Clark, Riverfield Country Day

2012: Mitchel Knight, Metro Christian

2011: Mitchel Knight, Metro Christian

2010: Chase Tomlins, Cascia Hall

2009: Cale Hammond, Bishop Kelley

2008: Eric West, Union

2007: Eric West, Union

2006: Blake Boswell, Union

2005: Blake Boswell, Union

Coach of the Year

2018: Toby Clark, Riverfield Country Day

2017: Ron Acebo, Jenks

2016: No award given

2015: Ron Acebo, Jenks

2014: Molly Hannagan, Cascia Hall

2013: Molly Hannagan, Cascia Hall

2012: Ron Acebo, Jenks

2011: Laura Burke, Metro Christian

2010: Peter McCorkle, Cascia Hall

2009: Michael McElwaine, Bishop Kelley

2008: Kevin Gannon, Union

2007: Michael McElwaine, Bishop Kelley

2006: Jon Parker, Cascia Hall; and and Kevin Gannon, Union

2005: Jeff Parks, Cascia Hall

How the team was picked

Nomination forms were emailed to athletic directors and coaches in the All-World area. Schools within 60 miles of downtown Tulsa and schools within 75 miles of downtown in a town with a population of 5,000 or more are considered to be in the All-World area. Freshmen through seniors were eligible. World sports writer Mike Brown made the final selections after reviewing the forms and consulting with coaches.

Gilbert, 86, graduated from Northeastern State University in 1954, started coaching at Barnsdall, in Osage County about 30 miles north of Skiatook, the following fall and never left.

Mike Brown


Twitter: @mikebrownTW

Sports Writer

Mike has covered high school football, basketball and baseball for the Tulsa World since Spencer Tillman, Wayman Tisdale and Troy Aikman were sophomores in high school. Phone: 918-581-8390