Mike Hill of Mt. Ararat competes in the 2008 Class A state tennis finals at the Wallach Tennis Center in Lewiston. Portland Press Herald file photo

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of our series, “Catching Up With,” in which we catch up with some people we’ve covered over the last few decades.

TOPSHAM — Mike Hill is one of the most dominant boys high school tennis players in state history.

Hill is a three-time state champion, winning singles titles from 2007-2009 for Mt. Ararat and going undefeated in all three seasons.

Hill’s singles titles were the first in the school’s history. Furthermore, he is just one of two players to ever win a singles state championship from the Topsham school. During his senior season in 2009, he was recognized as the top-rated tennis player under 18 in all of New England, and participated in tournaments all around the country.

“I was fortunate enough to have a rating high enough to be able to go and play in all different places,” Hill said. “The tournaments gave me some valuable experience that helped me and my tennis career.”

After graduating, Hill continued his academic and athletic career at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he enjoyed a successful tennis career and graduated in 2013 with a degree in psychology.

Hill finished his career at Brown with 67 victories in singles, good enough for 15th all time in school history. He is 17th all time in combined wins.

“I had a blast at Brown, but it was a lot more strenuous and time committing than I thought it would be when I was going into it,” said Hill. “Brown gave me a different perspective when I was in the classroom, I learned a lot, and it was a much more diverse community than a small town like Topsham, and I was able to learn and experience different cultures from around the world.”

Mike Hill Photo provided by Mike Hill

Hill later worked for Woodlands Country Club and then Foreside Tennis and Fitness in Falmouth. He then joined the staff at Apex Racket and Fitness in Portland in the spring 2019, where he runs tennis clinics. Hill primarily works with children ages 11-13, but also holds a clinic for players who are at the high school level.

“The ultimate goal for my program is for these players to be able to play tennis at the college level of their choice,” he said. “It’s been going really well, the kids have a great work ethic and it’s enjoyable for me to watch them grow their game as they continue to train and work hard.”

Hill, who also coached at the University of Southern Maine in 2014, has continued to run his clinics during the pandemic, following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“The program is in a really great spot right now, it really is a great way for any aspiring junior player to grow their game to new heights,” continued Hill. “I just think it’s really important for these kids to be able to continue to stay active and have fun even though we are going through these tough times.”

Hill dominated competition on the court, but he credits his time with the team as his favorite memories.

“For me, it was really just all about being a part of the team, I had a lot of guys that I enjoyed being around and had a lot of fun during those years,” Hill said. “Most of my high school tennis career was outside of Mt. Ararat, but those matches were still intense and I felt the pressure to perform as well as I could.”

Hill recalled the state championship matches, which were at Bates College in Lewiston.

Mike Hill of Mt. Ararat returns a serve during the 2007 Class A singles championship match against Falmouth’s Sam Hyland at Bates College in Lewiston. Portland Press Herald file photo

“Playing at Bates was awesome and the courts are great, but it was always scorching hot by the time the postseason rolled around. I vividly remember having to grind out the match through the heat on multiple occasions,” Hill said.

While this year has been different for everyone during the pandemic, Hill and his girlfriend moved to Yarmouth in the spring.

“It’s been a weird year for all of us, but I’m just grateful for where I am at and to still be able to get on the court almost every day,” Hill said.

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