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Gayer leads Townsend Harris past Cardozo - finally

It was the first time Townsend Harris had advanced past the quarterfinals in the Mayor's Cup and the only instant in school history when the Hawks had beaten Cardozo.The Hawks were later beaten in the semifinals by Horace Mann 4-1, which then defeated Brooklyn Tech in the finals 4-1.Gayer, a senior, was in the mood to chit-chat and give a first-hand account of his win. Unfortunately, the only interview he gave was to his tennis coach Robin Figelman and his teammates, who gave him a hearty congratulations but failed to ask him any tough questions."He wanted to speak with some reporters," Figelman said. "He gets this big win and there was no one covering the match."On Sunday in the semifinals of the Mayor's Cup, Gayer defeated Horace Mann's Max Kurz, pound-for-pound one of the most animated players in the tournament 6-0 6-3 in No. 1 singles at the National Tennis Center, and Gayer, without hardly any prompting, sat on the bleachers and gave a liberating interview to the one reporter who was in attendance.It was his final match at Townsend Harris and the final match for Figelman who is stepping down after her second season to take care of her 4-year-old son."It felt great to finally get that win over Cardozo," Gayer said. "I didn't think I was going to win the match after losing the first set (against Fiul), but Ms. Figelman told me to get it together and I was able to pull it out. I haven't played tennis in nine days, but fortunately I was able to help the school win. This is kind of bittersweet now, ending my career at Townsend Harris - lot of memories."Gayer will attend Dartmouth in the fall on an academic/athletic scholarship, joining his sister, Hyla, who is a sophomore at the school. Whoever replaces Gayer in the No. 1 slot will have large shoes to fill. Gayer occupied the top singles spot for all four years, winning the PSAL Individual Championship his sophomore and senior season."His determination sets him apart from other players," Figelman said. "He's a very poised competitor. When he has to pull through for the team, he does. He's been able to deal with being the top singles player all four years. That shows he's not afraid to deal with the pressure." Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by E-mail at or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.

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