If you’re a high-school tennis fan, you’ve probably already heard about Kentridge senior Matt Overland.
Overland has been one of the best players in the state the past three years. But he’s had the misfortune, so to speak, of being in the same graduating class as Kentwood phenom Max Manthou, who will be favored to win his fourth straight 4A title next spring. Overland lost the title match to Manthou this past May and in 2008 placed third after falling in the semifinals to him.
I was fortunate enough to sit down and talk with Overland a couple of weeks ago and wrote this story that ran in The Seattle Times today. He’s a unique individual who once was misdiagnosed with Aspergers syndrome because of his sometimes-erratic social skills.
Space limitations being what they are today, a lot of information doesn’t make it to print, and I wanted to share some more about Overland here.
It should be noted that he not only is one of the top high-school players in the state, but is ranked No. 10 in the 18-year-old division of the Pacific Northwest Juniors (although he’s still just 17). Manthou is No. 4.
If you ever get a chance to see the two go toe-to-toe, you should jump on it. The only set Manthou has lost in the past two years has been to Overland. The two could easily play for the state title again next May.
While Overland is known by some for his hilarious one-liners during matches, he is also recognized as a good sport who is very fair with his line calls. In fact, he received the sportsmanship award at the 2008 state tournament and also has been in consideration for similar honors at national events.
This is not a guy you will see throwing his racket or making a scene., although he is very passionate about his sport.
Overland is one of the more honest, open and creative high-school athletes I’ve spoken with. His artwork is impressive and the guy loves rap (he’s good at it, too). He’s sensitive as well and helps his father coach a “special populations” class at the Boeing Employees Tennis Club. He often gives pointers to his Kentridge teammates on the JV squad.
This is truly a kid who hits winners on and off the tennis court.