Perhaps few Saints athletes in history were as dominant in an individual chosensport as Treat Huey. An unbeaten singles tennis player in league competition for St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School his last three years, by the time he hung up his racket for the Saints in 2004, he was the USTA No. 1-ranked 18-and-under tennis player in the country.
Unlike many tennis phenoms, Treat started playing seriously in seventh grade. Most of his tennis peers at the highest levels had been playing since they were 8 years old. Treat continued to play football, basketball, and baseball in the Middle School and ninth grade. He credits his overall athleticism to playing a variety of sports, but he knew that focusing on tennis would give him a chance at a scholarship. Yet Treat did the unusual for an aspiring pro and chose to play both in national tournaments AND for the Saints.
“Many of my good friends I was practicing and training with just went to the academy outside of College Park after school,” Treat says. “My dad and mom always wanted me to be part of the school atmosphere. It was cool to be able to play at the school—It was a great decision for me. I never really saw myself as the kind of kid who wanted to put ALL my focus on being the best tennis player I could be; I wanted to be part of the school. I did not want to leave school from 2-7 every day and just be a professional tennis player.”
Treat turned around one day after his freshman year to find that the Saints had resurfaced the four tennis courts and put up new fencing. Tennis had become a little bigger deal and a little more popular. “Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but I started feeling like I was helping to raise the sights of the program,” he says.
To have a normal Saints experience and to be one of the top players in the country was a tremendous balancing act, Treat recalls: “As I got older, my mom and I would always look at the schedule and try to get the last two periods free so I might practice and train, and I would start all over again the next day. I didn’t know any better. It’s why I still have so much fun doing tennis now.” It’s a good thing Treat still has fun playing tennis and balancing his schedule. He is a professional tennis player, currently No. 42 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, spending nine months of the year on the road in the U.S. and overseas.
After graduating from St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes, Treat switched his concentration from singles to doubles tennis. “When I was 18, I was always top five or ten in doubles … a little better than I was in singles. So I did both at the University of Virginia. I realized I could help myself more by being a doubles player … and I can really make it as a professional doubles player; I have a pretty good shot.”
Treat believes being a Saint and competing at the highest levels of tennis required mental toughness. “I grew up seeing some of the best tennis players in the area,” he says. “Certainly going in to play those high school matches, I wanted to show that I was the guy to beat, and I was the dominant tennis player. At the same time I was playing in national tournaments when I was 20th or so in the country; I was the underdog in the national tournaments. My dad said I needed to learn how to be the favorite and the underdog, to experience both kinds of pressure.”
Few SSSAS alumni pursue a career in professional sports. Yet Treat strongly believes his experience as a Saint provided the perfect foundation for him to pursue his goal. “It was such a great school. It developed me as a person,” he says. “I attended since I was in kindergarten. My parents had so much influence on me; St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes was one of the greatest places to have that influence. The school set me up to go to the University of Virginia and get ahead and prepare myself well … It gave me a good head on my shoulders, to know what to do and how to do it, and it prepared me to travel and make the most of each opportunity.”