Athlete of the Week: State finalist ready for college

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Senior Frankie Piana is one of the toughest players on the tennis court.
“He is a grinder,” said Chas Claus, head coach for Clarkston Boys Varsity Tennis. “Frankie might be the toughest player on the court. I have never seen him back down to anybody. Even when he is down big in a set or in a match, he just never backs off. He digs in, and he is going to fight it out.”
Claus added Piana’s match in the semifinals at the state finals is a great example.
“He was down on a set, and there was one particular long rally he won and even though the other kid was winning, it broke him,” Claus explained. “You could tell the kid did not want any more of Frankie. He came back and won that. Even though he didn’t win (the championship), I am really proud. He is fearless and willing to fight anybody all the way to the last point.”
Piana finished the year with a 26-3 record on Singles No. 2 Court and as runner-up in the state finals this year. He was named to the All-State team as well.

Senior Frankie Piana is all smiles after signing his letter of intent, Nov. 7. Photo by Wendi Reardon Price

“It went pretty good,” Piana said about his fourth and final year with the Wolves. “I was state finalist again so I am pretty happy about it.”
His career record with the Wolves is 106-18. He also finished as runner up in the state finals during his junior year on the Singles No. 3 court. He received Honorable Mention All-State team for his sophomore and junior years.
Piana began playing tennis when he was 9 ½ years-old, when he stopped playing soccer.
“My dad said he played tennis when he was in high school,” he explained. “I just started to try it, and I was in the lower level groups with the little kids. I really liked it. Then, I got into the USTA tournaments and started playing more advanced and starting getting better.”
He added what he liked about the sport is he is playing the whole time.
“It’s just you and another person,” he said. “I like it because it’s really competitive and so am I.”
Piana will continue playing tennis at Davenport University
“I really like their campus,” he said, adding he also liked it is private and it’s a smaller school.He plans to study accounting or finance managing.
When he is not playing tennis or studying he enjoys playing ping pong and going bowling with his friends.
Piana’s advice to aspiring athletes is to work hard.
“I am happy going to a Division 2 school,” he said. “I worked hard and I got there. I am happy with myself that I got there.”
His parents are Karen and Frank.