DLN All-Area: Devon Prep’s Bramlage leads Tide to first tennis state gold

Devon Prep junior Mitchell Bramlage, the Daily Local News 2021 Boys Tennis Player of the Year, has an impressive tennis resume – both at doubles and singles.

Bramlage capped his 2021 campaign by teaming with senior Ryan Bill to capture the PIAA 2A doubles championship – Devon Prep’s first-ever state tennis title.

At first singles, Bramlage did not drop a set in Catholic League play and received the league’s Most Valuable Player for the second time. The junior co-captain was PIAA 2A District 12 singles runner-up, and his stellar play at first singles helped the Tide reach the Catholic League team championship finals for the first time ever, and advance to the District 12 2A team finals.

Bramlage is a versatile and skilled performer. But it’s his work ethic and leadership skills that really come to the forefront.

Devon Prep athletic director Jason Fisher said, “Being around sports for a long time you get to see a lot of talented athletes, and in all of my time around sports I have rarely had the privilege to see someone as gifted as Mitchell – but what really sets Mitchell apart is his awesome work ethic. He is always striving to make himself and the people around him better. Mitchell is constantly working on improving and it is very rare to see that kind of work ethic from a young man.”

“Mitch is an extremely hard worker and an unbelievably talented tennis player,” said Bill. “He is the main reason the tennis program at Devon has evolved like it has. I’m honored to have won a state championship with Mitch by my side.”

“Mitchell’s ability to lead, encourage, and inspire his teammates was invaluable to us,” said Devon Prep tennis head coach Lauren George.

Off the court, Bramlage is a leader too. He was President of his junior class at Devon Prep this past school year, and Model UN President as well.

George said, “It was a real joy watching Mitchell’s mental game develop throughout this season, and it culminated in the PIAA 2A state doubles championship, where he and Ryan prevailed over many other talented athletes. Mitch’s prowess as a tennis player this spring went beyond his individual skill.”

Not surprisingly, Bramlage’s favorite tennis player is Roger Federer.

“His calm mental game and class are unmatched,” said Bramlage.

Tennis runs in the Bramlage bloodlines. His mother, Meghan, is an avid adult player who has competed in USTA and local leagues in various states in the U.S. She first taught Mitchell the game at age 6.

Mitchell’s older sister McKenna was a standout player at Academy of Notre Dame. McKenna and Mitchell have played in sectional and regional junior tournaments in both the Middle States and Midwest regions over the years, and they have paired up for mixed doubles as well.

Mitchell has travelled to Wimbledon in 2013 and to the Australian Open (as a spectator). His favorite tennis venue is Wimbledon.

“Going to Wimbledon is an experience I’ll never forget,” said Bramlage. “My favorite memory at Wimbledon was the legendary prestige that surrounded the tournament. We had great seats to see top ranked players such as Novac Djokovic and Serena Williams compete on grass which made for a once in a lifetime experience.”

Two years ago, Bramlage started working with Sanjin Kunovac, Director of Tennis at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education in Philadelphia. Kunovac has coached many of the top sectionally- and nationally-ranked juniors.

“Sanjin’s knowledge of the game is unlike any other, and he taught me to serve, move, and strategize more effectively,” said Bramlage.

In the spring of 2019, as a freshman on the Devon Prep tennis squad, Bramlage posted an undefeated regular season record, and finished second in the PIAA 2A state singles championship

“Going into my freshman season, I was nervous and unsure of what to expect, but Devon had an awesome team culture that made playing truly enjoyable,” said Bramlage. “Being named MVP at the end of my freshman season was a great way to honor my team.”

There was no high school tennis for Bramlage (or for anyone else, for that matter) in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Mitchell didn’t miss a beat during the regular season this spring, winning another Catholic League MVP award, and helping the Tide advance to the PCL team championship final for the first time ever. Led by Bramlage, Devon Prep defeated LaSalle (who had won the PCL boys tennis team championship for tennis for the past 14 years) in the semifinal to advance to the finals.

In the postseason, Bramlage continued his stellar play. Although Devon Prep lost to Masterman in the championship finals of the District 12 2A team tournament, Bramlage defeated Ajay Sheth, the District 12 2A singles champion, at first singles, 4-6, 6-1, 10-7.

In the PIAA 2A doubles tournament, Bramlage’s powerful serve – the best feature of his game – was a key factor, as was his chemistry with Ryan Bill. That chemistry particularly came in handy during the quarterfinals against Lancaster Catholic, a seesaw match in which the Tide duo prevailed, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

“This was our best match, without a doubt,” said Bramlage. “The match could have gone either way, but the chemistry that Ryan and I shared on the court allowed us to focus on key points to pull through.”

In the PIAA 2A doubles championship finals, Bramlage and Bill defeated Fairview seniors Grayson Millette and Aidan Piazza, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

“For us to win Devon Prep’s first state tennis title means everything to me,” said Bramlage. “Ryan and I couldn’t have done it without the support of our coaches and fellow teammates.

“The guidance that Coach George and Coach [Shane] Roxberry gave to our team was enormous. They organized more practices and hitting sessions this year which helped our team to significantly improve. Our teammates were also invaluable, they were always cheering us on and making sure we stayed positive, with one player in particular, Matthew Egan, doing an especially great job of this.”

While Bramlage has not committed to a college yet (he plans to major in business or economics), he is looking forward to his senior year at Devon Prep – and vice versa.

Fisher said, “I look forward to what the future holds for Mitch – both on the tennis court and beyond.”

Fun facts – Mitchell Bramlage

Favorite book: The Giver.
Favorite TV show: Breaking Bad.
Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption.
Favorite athlete: Baker Mayfield.
Favorite team: Cleveland Browns.
Favorite course at Devon Prep: Economics.

Other activities at Devon Prep: Model UN (President), Academic Competition Team, Mock Trial, Stock Market Club.

Person I admire most, and why: “I admire my mom, Meghan. She’s always there for me no matter the circumstance and has helped me grow into the person I am today.”

Family members: parents Stephen and Meghan, sister McKenna, twin brother Evan.

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