Scott Gerber photographed the action photos and most, but not all, of the state qualifier group photos. Interview


OTZ Interview with Hawken's Ryan Leizman

The next senior player interview is with Ryan Leizman, a four year court 1 player from Hawken. Leizman is the #1 seed from the Northeast District Division II, and he is undefeated during the month of May.

Tennis has been a Leizman family pastime. His mother, Nancy, and father, Marc, both played tennis. Marc played at a high level high school tennis for University School and collegiately for Northwestern. His older sister, Emily, also played tennis for Hawken. As for vocations, Marc works in a business consulting firm; Nancy is with Raymond James Financial Advisors; and Emily is with Amazon in Seattle. Being associated with quality college football programs was obviously not that big deal to the Leizman family since both Nancy and Emily graduated from the University of Michigan.

Hawken's Ryan Leizman
Hawken's Ryan Leizman - Click to enlarge
As for his college choice, Leizman replied, "I decided to attend the University of Richmond next fall. I really enjoy the programs at Richmond, the area around the school, and the campus. I considered Babson and Ohio State to name a few schools." Leizman has been in contact with the coach and hopes to try walking on with the team. If that does not work out, he will play club tennis.

As for his interests in high school, he stated, "I used to be a big math and science guy, but I have had some really great English classes at my high school. I would say math/science as of now, but it's close. With that said, I want to major in something business-related, and I took this great entrepreneurship class at my school where we got to work with companies and build a business, so math is important for me." In addition to taking three AP classes, Leizman also enjoyed an entrepreneurial class which included interaction with local businesses.

After Hawken beat Cincinnati Country Day in the semis of the OTCA tournament, they just had to get past Bexley for the team title but Hawken came up just a bit short. As for Leizman's goals this season, "Win a state title, whether in team or individually. We have come so close the last two years in team, so I feel like those previous experiences will help us this year. Obviously there are some tough guys this year in D2 singles, but I'm just going to take it match by match down in Mason and see what happens."

Hawken Tennis @W&S
Hawken Tennis @W&S '17- Click to enlarge
Leizman played a variety of sports before focusing on tennis at around 10 years of age, but continued playing other sports until his sophomore year. He has attained a 2-Star ranking and he has a UTR of 9.9. Injuries, primarily from growing 4-5 inches before his junior season, hampered his play last year, but he has been a mainstay on court 1 this season. Leizman's favorite shots are his forehand and serve. He will continue to play tennis this summer to keep his game sharp. He plans to play in the Midwest Closed and some ITA's.

High school tennis has been a positive experience for Leizman because, "I like the team dynamic that you don't normally get with USTA tournaments. It's been a real great experience the last four years and I have made some great friends that I wouldn't have gotten the chance to meet without high school tennis."

Since he was the fourth senior interviewee of the season, he was ready for the mandatory OhioTennisZone usage question. "I like looking at the scores from around the state and getting an understanding of how my friends and the rest of the state are doing. I also really like the way the draws are formatted for States and the OTCA tourney." He primarily refers to the OTZ Player Profiles, but logs in for information for those players without them.

He has no Twitter handle, but he uses SnapChat as his major form of communication. When he is not playing tennis he enjoys playing the video game, Madden 2K, and playing jazz on his clarinet.

For service-related activities, "I worked with Inner City Tennis Clinics (ICTC) and helped mentor middle school students in Cleveland. I really enjoy helping out with kids, and both these programs really do a great job helping out local kids whether through sport or schooling." There are also several University School players who assist with this program. Click ICTC for more information.

Hawken coach, Brian Smallwood offered this about Leizman. "Ryan has been an asset this year for Hawken with not only his play but also how he has led by example. Ryan's hard work and determination has culminated in a hard fought District title this year. Ryan's reliability as a team member and number one singles player this year has complimented his growth as a young man and competitor. I am looking forward to see what he can bring to the State tournament and know if he plays his game he will excel."

How long will Leizman's undefeated May run last? We'll know in a few days..