Arielle Griffin is only a sophomore at Cardozo High School and has shown a great deal of potential to someday make it ‘big’ among the top tennis players in the nation, if she isn’t already for her age.
Griffin ended her second season at Cardozo by being seeded fourth in the Mayor’s Cup, comprising the best players in the city, among the Catholic, parochial and public schools. She took the title with a 6-4,6-3 decision at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow Corona Park, site of the US Open tournament later on during the summer. In the process she defeated second seeded Becky Shtilkind of Brooklyn’s Leon Goldstein High School.
During the school year she put in a lot of hard work into the sport and can thank the coaching staff, headed by Cardozo Head Girls’ Coach Neal Baskin, for her success.
For instance, during the regular season, she finished third in the Public Schools Athletic League singles tournament by defeating Alexis Tashina of Francis Lewis of Queens, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
At the beginning of the girls final of the Mayor’s Cup, Griffin was ahead 3-0. When her opponent tried to make a comeback in the fourth game, Griffin became a little nervous.
“I kept my composure and worked on things that helped me get up 3-love in a tough match, ”the youngster said. “This Mayor’s Cup tournament is not the biggest one I ever won, but then again it’s close to it. Actually maybe it was. I felt great in winning the Mayor’s Cup title.”
Griffin, whose father Sylvester, a former tennis player and an excellent cricketer as well, is ranked 13th in the 16 and under in the East. At one time she was ranked fourth in the 14s in the East last year.
Griffin, whose mother comes from Nevis, a small island in the Caribbean, became only the second Cardozo female to ever capture the Girls Varsity singles title of the Mayor’s Cup competition. Agnes Wiski became the first in 1998, the same year that Justin Natale took if for the boys, during a remarkable season for both the boys and girls teams at Cardoizo High School.
The recent Mayor’s Cup tournament in various categories, including those for middle school students, had a sponsor for its first time, TMZ Wireless T Mobile, whose headquarters are located in Long Island City.
“We’re really proud to have this company because it is supporting junior tennis in the met area and all of our junior tennis league programs and the biggest all-scholastic tournament in the United States,” said Sara Fornatiari, marketing consultant for the New York Junior Tennis League, which conducted the tournament.
This is the largest all-scholastic tournament in the United States. Most cities never had the opportunity to see the public, private, and parochial schools all at one time. In the same venue. This is a great event.
Team competition took place during one weekend and the individual finals took place on the following weekend.
If an individual student attends a school that doesn’t field a tennis team on the interscholastic level that individual is still eligible to compete in this tournament.
And Asika Isoh, who finished runner-up to boys singles champion Jonathan Raude of Cardozo falls into this category, for his high school Gateway to Queens doesn’t field such a team. Asika happens to be a member of the NYJTL program, is one of the best players in the league and competed in his third Mayor’s Cup singles final.
Isoh is taking his skills to the next level-to West Point to continue his education and tennis while Jonathan Raude will be doing the same to Boston College.
Raude ended his high school career with a 6-2, deuce, retired score against Isoh in the boy’s final of the Mayor’s Cup.