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Rapkins – reigning FLS tennis player of the year — walks away

From The Free Lance-Star’s Taft Coghill Jr.:

Caleb Rapkins is done playing competitive tennis.

The James Monroe High School star senior said on Wednesday he’s left the Yellow Jackets’ program and will concentrate solely on academics.

“Right now my current academic plans don’t permit playing high school tennis,” Rapkins said. “I’m going to take some college courses in May and my schedule is too busy.”

Rapkins is the two-time Free Lance-Star boys tennis player of the year.

He’s set to enroll in William & Mary this fall, but won’t try out for the tennis team. He initially planned to walk-on with the Tribe.

“His game is very good, but it’s not at the high-quality D-I level,” JM coach George Christoforatos said. “I think he felt he couldn’t make the William & Mary team and that burned his desire to improve.”

Rapkins said giving up tennis is “pretty relieving to move on to a new phase in my life.”

He said it will give young players a chance to step up for the Yellow Jackets (4-0).

Rapkins, the 2009 Group AA state runner-up, appeared in two matches this season and Christoforatos said he could tell something wasn’t right.

“His heart wasn’t in it,” Christoforatos said. “You can look in an athlete’s eyes and tell if it’s there or not.”

Christoforatos said he’s disappointed Rapkins is leaving because younger players looked up to him. But he added: “This will bring us closer together.”

He said Juhan Washington will likely step into the No. 1 slot on the team.

“I told the team, ‘We have enough depth that we can still make the dream come true,’” Christoforatos said. “We can win districts. We can win regionals and take it all the way. We’re undefeated and we plan on staying undefeated.”