KENTS HILL — Kents Hill School senior Robert Patenaude has been playing tennis for a long time.

“I was really young, maybe five or six,” he says of when he first started playing the game. “I used to play at the Augusta indoor courts.”

It is of little surprise Patenaude got involved with the sport at such a young age, after all, his mother, Carol, is the former girls tennis coach at Cony.

After the career Patenaude has had at Kents Hill, it is clear the years of work paid off.

Patenaude split his time playing No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles for an ultra-talented Husky team that went undefeated, won the Maine Association of Independent School Athletic Directors championship and finished as runners up in their class at the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council tournament.

The three players ahead of him on Kents Hill’s ladder are all going to play collegiately and even Patenaude himself has committed to play at Division II St. Anselm College (NH). For these reasons Robert Patenaude, of Augusta, has been named the Kennebec Journal Boys Tennis Athlete of the Year. Monmouth junior Kasey Smith also received strong consideration for the honor.

“He’s very level headed,” Kents Hill coach Pat McInerney said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him bang a ball against the fence or show any kind of major frustrations. Temperament is a huge part of being a strong tennis player.”

Patenaude was certainly that for the Huskies this year and a big part of their success, however, the players ahead of him on his own roster were even more talented.

“The guys who are ahead of him, one is a boy his name Zach Miller and went undefeated this year. He came to us from New York state where he was a champion in New York. He played USTA his whole life and he’s going to Lynn University in Florida,” McInerney said. “The boy who was second, Daniel Sheppard, he’s going out to play (collegiately) in Washington. He came here specifically to play tennis. Daniel was also undefeated for this season. The No. 3 player, Shin Ota, was the No. 1 player last year.”

That left Patenaude to bounce between the end of the singles ladder and top of doubles, something McInerney said he took in stride.

“He played with three different partners this year,” McInerney said. “He’s all the way around a very strong player.”

McInerney said he also used his height to his advantage in his game to make himself a handful both at the service line and the net.

“He has a very talented serve-volley,” McInerney said. “…He’s 6-3 and when he gets to the net he’s very intimidating.”

In addition to playing tennis for the Huskies, Patenaude was also on the varsity soccer and ski teams. He is spending the summer teaching tennis at an overnight camp in Oakland.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: Evan_Crawley

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