Senior spotlight: Quaker Valley tennis champ tries to take stalled senior year in stride

Sunday, April 5, 2020 | 6:01 AM

Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight a WPIAL spring athlete whose senior year has been put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.

Quaker Valley tennis player Zach Albert has a philosophy he tries to live by: Only worry about things you can control.

It worked for him on the court last season, as he and doubles partner John Watters won a WPIAL doubles championship.

It’s especially applicable in everyday life today, as his senior season is on hold while the world deals with an unprecedented crisis.

“I haven’t really been thinking about my senior season,” Albert said. “I can’t control if it gets canceled, postponed or whatever. I do the things I can control.”

What’s your best memory playing tennis at Quaker Valley?

It has to be winning the WPIAL doubles tournament with John. I’ve never felt excitement like that before.

What’s your best memory as a sports fan?

I went to Cincinnati, the Western Southern Open, and I saw Roger Federer play Novak Djokovic. It was just crazy to see how good they are, how great of shape they’re in. When they go out there, it’s just crazy. I don’t even know how to explain it. They’re so good.

Who would you say is your biggest rival?

I’d probably say Indiana because we lost to them in the WPIAL championship last year. The year before that, we lost to them in the WPIAL semifinal.

What’s the best way to avoid boredom when stuck at home?

Actually, I am really bored. I’ve been watching a lot of TV, Netflix. I’ve started exercising. Tennis is one of the only sports where there’s social distancing.

What are your college plans?

I’m going to the University of Pitt. I’m not playing tennis. I’ll play intramural, maybe try out for the club team, although they’re pretty good. I don’t know if I’m good enough for them. I love the urban campus. Schenley Park is really nice. The Cathedral of Learning is nice. I like sports, and growing up here, you kind of have to be a Pitt fan. Or Penn State. You pick Pitt or Penn State, and I picked Pitt.

What do you plan to study?

I’m still kind of undecided. I have a weird range. I like psychology, but I also like some of kind of business, like sports marketing. They’re kind of different. I can’t decide.

If you could pick anyone to give a commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

I’d go with LeBron James. His story is remarkable, what he came from. He donates to charity. He’s a great person, never got into trouble. With all that, I’d say he’s the greatest player of all time. I know there’s a debate there.

If you were asked to give a speech, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Don’t think about the things that you can’t really control. Like right now, we’re kind of stuck at home, but we can’t control that. Why should we be stressing or thinking it’s our fault and getting depressed. Everything that’s in your control you can do, but there’s stuff you shouldn’t even be thinking about because there’s no way you can change the outcome of it. Why stress out about it?

Jonathan Bombulie is the TribLive assistant sports editor. A Greensburg native, he was a hockey reporter for two decades, covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for 17 seasons before joining the Trib in 2015 and covering the Penguins for four seasons, including Stanley Cup championships in 2016-17. He can be reached at


More High School Sports

High school scores, summaries and schedules for Feb. 21, 2024
High school roundup for Feb. 21, 2024: Shady Side Academy escapes OLSH upset bid
Greensburg Central Catholic girls use defense to beat Rochester, move into 2A semifinals
Union surges past Monessen to set up another meeting with Imani Christian
Lincoln Park duo of Brandin Cummings, Meleek Thomas too much for young Knoch