Worth The Trip

Skyline's Stefano Trentini hits a forehand during a match this season. Trentini advanced to the state semifinals this season. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — Stefano Trentini’s journey to the United States came to an end last week, but the Italian exchange student was able to take a lot of memories back home with him.

The Skyline student athlete accomplished a lot in his 10-month stay, including taking the Hawks to new heights in tennis.

Trentini became the first player in school history to win postseason individual titles. He won the Conference 28 singles title, and followed that up with the Region 3A East title. He became the first in school history to advance to the state tournament, where he lost in the singles semifinals.

“He’s been a fantastic player all year round,” Skyline coach Deb Ramsey said. “What he’s done for our program — I can’t thank him enough.”

Trentini, the Northern Virginia Daily’s 2015 Boys Tennis Player of the Year, wanted to come to the United States so he could learn English better and to experience what it was like living here.

He arrived last August, and stayed with the Rohani family in Front Royal. Trentini said his host family was a perfect fit for him.

“They’re really sweet and we get along perfectly and they have a kid in sixth grade,” Trentini said. “He goes to Aylor Middle school in Frederick County. We live like family, I feel like them being part of my family and they feel the same way.”

Trentini is from Ferrara, Italy, and he said the schools there are very different.

He said they are much smaller, and Skyline looks like a castle compared to his school.

They also don’t have school sports like they do in the U.S., so it was a real thrill for him to play sports for the Hawks.

Trentini said one of the highlights for him this year was playing basketball. Even though he wasn’t a starter, he enjoyed being on the team and making new friends.

“Basketball season was super exciting experience for me,” Trentini said. “I loved all those guys. It just made my year even more than what it already was.”

As much fun as basketball season was, tennis has always been Trentini’s favorite sport. He said he’s played since he was little, and his father is vice president of a local sports club.

Trentini had little problem winning the Conference 28 title, and during the regular season only lost to Handley’s Parker Wilson, who went on to win the Group 4A state singles and doubles titles.

He also was runner-up in doubles with teammate Joey Park. The pair advanced to regionals, where they fell short in the quarterfinals.

Trentini overcame a slow start in the singles semifinals, but won in three sets, and the next day won the regional title in straight sets.

“It meant the world to me,” Trentini said of winning the regional title. “That was pretty fun. I feel like I commanded the [finals] match pretty well, opening angles and creating opportunities on the net. That really felt great.”

Even though he came up short in the state tournament, Trentini said he was very happy with the season he had.

“It has been a beautiful journey to come all the way down here,” Trentini said after the state semis. “I’m satisfied with what I did.”

Ramsey said Trentini was a big influence on the rest of the squad, which only picked up one win this season.

“I’ve had boys that are on the team tell me that Stefano inspires them,” Ramsey said. “They want to play and be like Stefano. It’s been a long time, if ever, that we’ve had that. Having somebody to look up to like that is just tremendous for the team.”

Trentini said that he enjoyed his time in the U.S. and that he enjoyed his time on the tennis team.

“All those guys I spend so much time with and have exciting moments that I will never forget ever,” Trentini said.

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