By Christian Malone
The Valdosta Daily Times
VALDOSTA — Stephen Moore and Tommy Cangelosi have enjoyed playing tennis at Valdosta High School the past four years. Now they can't wait to play four more years together at Georgia Southwestern State.
Moore and Cangelosi signed letters of intent to play tennis at Georgia Southwestern State in Americus. Both of them are excited about the chance to be college tennis players.
"I can't wait to get started in the fall," Cangelosi said.
They're also excited about having a chance to be teammates in college.
"It will be nice to still have one of the old (high school) teammates on the team," Moore said.
"It's been fun playing together," Cangelosi said. "We've been playing together a lot, since eighth grade."
Moore and Cangelosi have been key members of Valdosta's tennis team for the past four years. They played No. 1 doubles together as freshmen, and have been singles players for the Wildcats for three seasons.
They have been a part of a great run of success for the Wildcats. Valdosta has made it to the Class AAAAA state semifinals each of the past three years, and the team hopes to make it again this year. Valdosta won its first-round match 5-0 over Pebblebrook last week, and will host Union Grove in the second round this week.
"It's been a great four years," Moore said. "I've enjoyed being a Wildcat, and playing for Valdosta."
"Very proud," Cangelosi said. "I think it's consistency through our lineup. Our top three have always been really good, highly-ranked juniors in Georgia ... (and) if one of us was struggling at singles, our doubles would win."
"It sets high standards for each year after that. It's really good to have that level of competitiveness," Moore said. "It makes everybody better."
Earlier this month, Moore and Cangelosi helped Valdosta win the region title in Moultrie. The Wildcats defeated host Colquitt County 3-2 in the finals. Against Colquitt, Cangelosi won his match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 2 singles, while Moore had a three-set victory at No. 1 singles. It was the third time in Moore and Cangelosi's four years at Valdosta that the Wildcats had been the Region 1-AAAAA champions.
"It was a nail-biter," Moore said. "It was awesome."
Wearing Valdosta's black-and-gold has meant a lot to both players.
"To be a Wildcat (is special). I'm definitely going to miss it," Cangelosi said. "It's been so much fun. I've looked forward to tennis season every year, as soon as we've started school."
"I'll definitely always be a Wildcat," Moore said. "Every time we play Lowndes (in any sport), I don't want to lose."
Valdosta High's boys tennis team has four seniors, and all four plan to go to college at Georgia Southwestern. Moore will room with Savan Patel in college, while Cangelosi will be rooming with J.P. Nichols.
"We've got two more of our buddies going there, so we're going to have a few Valdosta people to have some fun with," Moore said.
In addition to playing at Valdosta, Moore and Cangelosi have played in a lot of United States Tennis Association tournaments, and both of them have won several titles. A few times, they've faced each other in the finals of a tournament. The two played each other in the second round of the Georgia-Florida Junior Championships at Valdosta State earlier this month, with Moore winning that match. Moore wound up making it to the semifinals of the tournament. They were also doubles partners in the tournament. Moore won the Sportsmanship Award at the tournament. Cangelosi had won the Sportsmanship Award at the same tournament in 2009.
"It's very competitive every time we play," Moore said.
Moore is currently the third-ranked 18-under boys tennis player in the state of Georgia, according to the USTA's state rankings. Cangelosi is ranked No. 22.
Georgia Southwestern plays in one of the toughest conferences in Division II. The Peach Belt Conference has two-time defending national champion Armstrong Atlantic State, as well as eight other teams ranked in the top 26 in Division II.
Moore and Cangelosi said they look forward to the challenge of facing some of the best players in Division II.
Both players are honor students, and are taking some AP classes. Moore says he has a 3.98 grade point average, while Cangelosi estimates he has about a 3.6 GPA. Moore plans to major in biology, and become a veterinarian. Cangelosi wants to major in either business management or accounting.
PHOTO BY: Jonathan M. Chick | The Valdosta Daily
Valdosta High tennis players Stephen Moore and Tommy Cangelosi sign their letters of intent to play for Georgia Southwestern. Moore, left, is joined by his parents, Stuwart and Catherine Moore, and his brother David. Cangelosi, right, is joined by his parents, Anthony and Mary Cangelosi, and his sister Carly.