For those who believe that specializing in a sport at a young age is not a good idea, you might want to check in with Andover senior David Grossman.
Grossman has been an avid year-round tennis player since the fourth grade, began playing tournaments in the sixth grade and has been rising up the ranks ever since. He was the Merrimack Valley Conference Player of the Year last year when he led the Warriors (14-3) to an MVC championship as the team’s No. 1 singles player. He didn’t lose a set in the league all season.
And the other sports Grossman has tried, even in middle school? Youth soccer? Baseball? Anything?
“Not really, it’s always been just tennis,” said Grossman, who moved to Andover from California in the third grade.
Well, not just tennis. Grossman has also focused on academics, with spectacular results.
As a student, Grossman has never gotten a grade lower than an “A.” He’ll graduate with a 4.0 GPA, 4.65 weighted, and found out last week that, as the No. 1 student in his class, he is the class valedictorian. He took three AP classes as a junior and four this past year, scoring perfect 5s on two of his AP tests.
On his SATs, Grossman scored an amazing 1,590, including 800 on the math portion. As a member of the American Computer Science League, he finished first in the state the last two years, a feat he calls perhaps his proudest moment. He also qualified for the USA Olympiad in physics.
Grossman’s parents, Mark and Virginia, both have graduate degrees, from MIT and Tufts, and have always been supportive. But, he said, “I wouldn’t say they were demanding. I think I’m just self-driven.”
He used that quality, and showed leadership skills, last year to found a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. He and several others helped construct a two-family home in Lawrence.
“My dad was involved (in Habitat for Humanity) and I wanted to do it, but you can’t volunteer until you’re 16,” said Grossman. “It was something I wanted to do and it was great. We were going to do it again this year until coronavirus.”
During the coronavirus, like everyone else, Grossman had to adjust to learning online and going without his athletic passion.
“It was an adjustment (academically) and it was harder to stay motivated, but it wasn’t bad,” said Grossman, who won three matches to advance to the quarterfinals of the North Open last spring. “(Missing tennis) was definitely disappointing. I really like the competitiveness of the sport. But we made the most of it.
“Coach (Mike Wartman) had a Cononavirus Senior Night, which was pretty cool. We’d go to the bottom of our driveway in our tennis clothes and get our picture taken.”
If it’s any compensation, Grossman should get another tennis season next year. He’s planning on majoring in computer science at Brown and plans on playing club tennis.
Looking ahead after college, Grossman says he would “like to do something with artificial intelligence.”
That would be ironic, because there has been nothing artificial about Grossman’s high school career as Wartman will surely attest.
“In addition to his many (academic and athletic) accomplishments, he stands out as a kind, humble unassuming person,” said Wartman. “He is always encouraging to others and is a resource when help is needed.
“David’s an outstanding player, student and person. He has a strong all around game, excellent court awareness, outstanding sportsmanship and is highly coachable.”
“As a two-year tennis captain he consistently helped to raise everyone’s game. I know he will continue to make great contributions to whatever community he joins. He will definitely be missed.”