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Most people would consider qualifying for a Division I state tournament in three sports in one year ambitious.

At a regional track and field event at Amherst Steele on Friday night, Highland High School senior Elijah Hadler might qualify for three Division I state tournaments.

Hadler will play in his third Division I boys tennis and cross country state tournaments.

“Elijah is able to manage his schedule incredibly well for someone as young as he is,” Highland tennis coach Lisa Reynolds said May 20 after Hadler won a district title at Springside Athletic Club in Akron.

He excels in three varsity sports and academics.

Hadler competes in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters in the Amherst Steele regional competition. In the district meet last week at Brunswick, he won the 1,600 in 4:28.19 and finished second in the 3,200 in 9:53.73.

In November, Hadler finished eighth in the Division I cross country state competition at Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park in 15:43.0 and won a district tennis title at Springside to qualify for the state event.

“It is just one thing at a time and whatever work I can do on any given day I do, and the results, I trust that they will come at some point,” Hadler said May 20 at Springside. “Hard work pays off.”

Hadler won a district tennis title last week by defeating North Canton Hoover’s Hunter Holloway 6-0, 6-0, Solon’s Nikolay Romanov 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, Avon’s Logan DeHaven 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, and Jackson’s Alvin Altman 6-3, 6-0.

Hadler, who is 30-5 in singles matches this season, said his legs sometimes tire, but adrenaline keeps him going.

“State matters most and I am definitely not satisfied,” Hadler remarked.

Thursday is Hadler’s Division I state tennis competition at Ohio State University Ty Tucker Tennis Center. He advances to the state semifinals and finals on Friday if he wins twice.

Highland senior Elijah Hadler will run and play tennis in college.

Hadler, 18, will study chemical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.

“I definitely want to stick with cross country and tennis at Rose-Hulman, and then track if I can,” said Hadler, who graduates from Highland on Saturday.

Hadler began competitive tennis at 3 and ran at 8.

Hadler stated, “I would consider myself more of a tennis player than a runner and I think that will remain for the rest of my life with how much more experience I have in tennis.

I’ve always participated in USTA competitions and had tennis partners with all five of my siblings. I started playing tennis early and have improved over time.”

Gary and Elizabeth Hadler have six children. Elijah’s siblings played tennis at Highland.

Reynolds stated he has known Elijah since he was 3. I coached his parents and elder siblings. He was the 3-year-old smashing a ball against a curtain at Paramount Tennis Club in Medina.

Reynolds grinned and chuckled, “He already had topspin.”

Highland’s Elijah Hadler plays tennis around the US.

USTA competitions have helped Hadler improve against Ohio and US opponents.

He played in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Hadler won three Suburban League American Conference titles after missing her freshman tennis season due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Hadler won four SLAC championships in three track and field seasons, helping the Hornets capture one team title.

Hadler won one SLAC cross country title and helped Highland win three in the prior four seasons.

Reynolds stated he had benefited most psychologically. “He’s more confident out there and not sweating the small stuff as much.”

Greater Akron boys tennis state qualifiers

Greater Akron has 10 boys tennis players in the state competition.

Highland senior Elijah Hadler, Jackson senior Alvin Altman, and Hudson sophomore Henrique Sa are area Division I singles qualifiers.

Revere senior Merit Wagstaff and junior Sam Lazbin, GlenOak sophomore Dylan Wiles and senior David Marginean, and Walsh Jesuit senior Michael Ulrich and junior Michael Vallone are local Division I doubles qualifiers.

Henrique Sa of Hudson plays Logan DeHaven of Avon in a Division I district tennis match Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Akron, Ohio.
Only St. Vincent-St. Mary junior Ben McKnight qualified for Division II.

Highland’s Lisa Reynolds, Jackson’s Louie Thomas, Hudson’s Tim Morgan, Revere’s David Heideman, GlenOak’s Chris Porter, WJ’s Rocco Cona, and STVM’s Alan Walker will coach in Columbus.

By Sanjh

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