Trentini making most of year

Stefano Trentini

FRONT ROYAL — Stefano Trentini came to the United States in part because he wanted to develop better English. The Skyline exchange student from Italy has learned a lot more than just English in the almost 10 months that he’s been in the U.S. and he’s happy that he’s here.

“It changed me on the inside,” Trentini said. ” … It changed my opinion on a lot of stuff. It’s just become part of you. It adds something to you, that you will never forget. I will never forget this school, the basketball team, the tennis team. All the guys, all the teachers that like me, and that I like back. I’m just so happy that I did it.”

Trentini said in Europe students are taught English from elementary school on up, and he’s always enjoyed learning the language. He said he had a few friends that were part of the exchange-student program and enjoyed it, so he talked his parents into letting him come to the U.S. He said he also just wanted to experience what it was like living in the U.S.

One of the things that Trentini has done well since he was very young is play tennis. He said he started playing at around 4 or 5 years of age at a sport club in his hometown of Ferrara, Italy. He said that his father is the Vice President of the club, which features many sports.

Trentini, the Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for May 18-24, has certainly shown off his tennis skills for the Hawks this season. Last week he became the first player in school history to win a postseason individual title.

He won the Conference 28 boys singles individual title, and was runner-up in doubles with teammate Joey Park. He advanced to next week’s regional tournament in both.

“I was really looking forward to get a championship for the school,” Trentini said. “It was a great opportunity to practice with the highest level that I could find in the conference. So I wanted to put all my effort in it. So I was really happy to win it. And being the first one in school history gives it even more satisfaction. It was fun.”

Trentini knocked off John Champe’s Andres Armenta, 6-2, 6-2, in the conference final on May 20. The next day he teamed with Park to win their Conference 28 semifinal match. In the finals, they lost to John Champe’s Armenta and Viktor Ding in a third-set tiebreak.

“We had some unbelievable shots and rallies,” Trentini said. “I hit a tweener, between the legs. It was kind of crazy. It was really fun. I don’t regret any of that match. We gave everything we had. We put everything we had in that game.”

One of the biggest problems Trentini has had this season has been finding people to practice with.

Skyline coach Deb Ramsey said that Trentini is allowed to go to Winchester and practice with some of the top high school players there. She said when he does practice with at the school, he usually practices with Skyline’s No. 1 girls player sophomore Kaylee Venable.

Ramsey said that Trentini gets along great with the other seven players on the boys team.

“He’ll come out and hit with them before practices or on off times,” Ramsey said. ” … The core group of eight players, from the freshmen down to the seniors, are together. They very quickly bonded and became a team. That’s something that’s such a joy to watch.”

Trentini said for him one of the highlights of his high school year has been playing basketball at Skyline. He said that he had not played since he was little, as he gave it up to focus on tennis at an earlier age.

He decided to give it a try, and said he was surprised when he made the team. Trentini said he made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun during the basketball season.

“I got to know everybody and everybody was just super nice to me and the season was really exciting,” Trentini said. ” … From then on my social life kind of exploded because everybody got to know me. Guys and girls from the school got to know me and from then on they are still the people I hang out with every weekend. It just made my year, basically.”

Trentini is solid from the baseline, has a nice serve and can handle himself at the net. Ramsey said that not only does he have a great all-around game, but he also has great racquet-head control.

“You watch him at the net when he’s getting ready to volley and think he’s coming cross court with the ball. And all of the sudden it’s down the line passing the player that’s leaning to his other side,” Ramsey said. “He’s very deceptive.”

Trentini said he’s excited for regionals and seeing how he does against some of the other top players around the state.

“My goal is just to play as often as I can and try to qualify for states,” Trentini said. “I don’t know if that’s going to be possible, but I’ll surely put all of my effort in it.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com