Jack Amerault doesn’t mince words when reflecting back on what he calls a “very frustrating” freshman season as the top singles player for Century High during 2019.
“I didn’t have a serve, at least not enough of one to win matches,” Amerault said. “Typically, players try to stay on serve, but I was the opposite as a freshman because breaking serve wasn’t nearly as hard for me as trying to hold my own serve.”
If there was a silver lining, however, to that first campaign that resulted in a 3-9 record, Amerault says he knew exactly what he had to do — get to work.
He hit the gym, hit as many serves as he could and utilized his unparalleled support system every chance he got.
He picked the brain of his father, Brian — a former professional player and the head tennis pro at Baltimore Fitness and Tennis for 16 years — and spent time with Hood College tennis coach Blaine Davies. Then, starting in June of 2020, Amerault started traveling down to Texas to work with former top 60 player in the world Mike Russell.
The breakthroughs came quickly.
“I saw the results right away … huge improvements,” Amerault said.
This spring, as a junior for the Knights, Amerault showcased his improved game on the way to an undefeated regular season and a Carroll County singles championship. For his efforts, he is the Times 2021 Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
“The development of his game over the last year and a half has been unbelievable,” Century coach Trey Howes said. “His work ethic has been tremendous and I will say that is something we could see in him right away as a freshman. He took those close losses and used them as motivation.”
During that first high school season, being mentally strong was paramount for Amerault and that’s something his dad has preached from the time he first picked up a racket.
“I told Jack when he started playing and then reiterated it several times when he was a freshman that many of the best players in the world lose more matches than they win. So it’s not wins and losses that determine the quality of the player, instead what they learn from each match,” Brian Amerault said. “I think he really bought into that and understood that he was at the beginning of the process.”
Naturally Jack Amerault was eager to show how far he had come in that process on the court, especially after losing his sophomore season to the coronavirus pandemic.
He didn’t have to wait long, as he bested Liberty’s talented sophomore Honour Zan in the team’s season opener this year by a score of 6-3, 6-2.
“There was a good amount of pressure going into that first match, so being able to get over that hump was really big. I proved to myself I was truly a different player,” Jack Amerault said.
He went on to beat Zan three more times. He bested him again in the regular season (6-1, 6-1), in the boys single final at the Carroll County tennis tournament (7-6 (7-2), 6-4) and then in the 2A West region semifinals (6-4, 6-1).
“[Honour] was probably his biggest challenge in the county this year and it’s hard to beat someone three times, let alone four,” Howes said. “But again, his ability to come out on top each time is a testament to Jack and his intellectual growth as a player. He was able to keep making adjustments as needed.”
Amerault also listed a regular-season victory over Westminster’s Aaron Sorkin, who had defeated him handily as a freshman, among his more memorable victories this year.
The bid for a region title ended up falling one match short, losing to Poolesville’s Jae Yi in the region championship match (6-4, 7-5). But Amerault said, referencing his past losses, that the extra motivation isn’t a bad thing.
“I learned a lot from that match about the things that I need to work on, like what it takes to close out points,” he said. “It was a tough loss, but it’s making me push myself harder so I can be even stronger next spring. Winning the state is definitely the goal I’m working toward.”
FIRST TEAM ALL-COUNTY
Jack Amerault, Century, junior
Honour Zan, Liberty, sophomore
Josh Bellows, Liberty, senior
Carroll County Daily Headlines
Jackson Klingenberg, Manchester Valley, senior
Jacob MacGregor, Manchester Valley, senior
Nathan Murphy, Liberty, senior
Evan DeLawter, Century, junior
Aaron Sorkin, Westminster, senior
SECOND TEAM ALL-COUNTY
Century: Mark Rolfes, Matt Schuler. Francis Scott Key: Gavin Bussells, Grant Johnson. Liberty: Brady Egelston, Max Harvey, Kieran McMahon, Owen Milewski, Ben Musser. Man Valley: Declan McGarry, Connor Neal. Westminster: Ben Dorsey. Winters Mill: Stevenson Medlin.