Noah Kuhl eyes a forehand shot. (KEIZERTIMES/File)
When it comes to finding a true student-athlete, look no further than Adam Graneto and Noah Kuhl.
Both Graneto and Kuhl are four-year letter winners for the McNary boys tennis team and spent this last season as co-captains of the squad.
And in the classroom, Graneto and Kuhl were honored with multiple academic accolades at the Celtic Awards Ceremony on May 28.
Graneto was recognized as the Outstanding Accounting Student of the Year, and also received awards for being one of the Outstanding Physics Students of the Year, as well as for Excellence in Language Arts and Social Studies. Graneto was also named the salutatorian for the class of 2019.
Kuhl, on the other hand, was recognized as the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Business Award winner and was the Digital Media Marketing Student of the Year.
“They have both been mainstays in this program for the last four years,” said boys tennis coach Marc McAvoy. “Adam and Noah are really steady guys that have great character. They are great to coach because you know that they're going to work hard and you know that they're going to dedicate themselves to getting better.”
Graneto spent the entire season as the No. 1 singles player for McNary, meaning that he always had to face the best competition in the Mountain Valley Conference. But no matter what the situation was, he was always up to the challenge.
“Adam really embraced that No. 1 spot and was able to rise to the occasion when we needed him,” McAvoy said.
In his final trip to the district tournament, Graneto was able to salvage an 8-5 victory against Mountain View's Grant Burk in the consolation bracket.
“That was a great experience. It just felt like all my hard work paid off and I was so glad that my family was there and got to see it,” Graneto said.
But no matter how many hours he put on the tennis court, Graneto always made sure that his schoolwork never lagged behind.
After receiving a B-grade in a freshman class, Graneto received only A’s for the remainder of his time at McNary, which allowed him to be recognized as the salutatorian.
“It's all about time management. I would always find time to do my homework and make it a priority. I even did homework on the bus most of the time when we would go to road matches,” Graneto said.
“I was thrilled to be salutatorian. I'm just really motivated and I pushed to improve in all my subjects.”
Kuhl, on the other hand, was the guy that did whatever the team needed of him on a match-to-match basis — whether it was playing in a #1 doubles match, or taking the #2 singles spot.
“I just really enjoy the sport,” Kuhl said. “I realized that I could actually be good at this if I put in the time and worked on getting better every day.”
Kuhl is also extremely passionate and successful when it comes to his schoolwork. What many people might not know is what he had to overcome to make it to that point.
With dyslexia, a written expressive disorder, a speech disorder and an auditory processing disorder, school has been understandably challenging for Kuhl at times. But despite dealing with many obstacles, Kuhl maintains a positive outlook on his academics — particularly when it comes to his business classes.
“One of the benefits about having dyslexia is that it allows me to be more creative,” Kuhl said. “I have been able to use that creativity in my business classes, which is where I have found my passion.”
One of Kuhl's other passions is disc golf, and in 2017, he started his own company called Kuhl Discs, where he sells disc golf equipment and runs tournaments.
In the fall of 2018, Kuhl brought Graneto into the project to help organize and design the website.
With the success of the business and the professional look of the website, Graneto and Kuhl won the first place award for E-business at the FBLA State Conference in April. They will be heading to National Conference in San Antonio, TX. on June 24.
“I just can't say enough great things about them,” McNary FBLA teacher Brad Lomax said of Graneto and Kuhl. “They are just great kids to be around. It was really cool to see their project take off.”
Kuhl will be attending Chemeketa Community College next year, with the plan of transferring to Oregon State University to study business management. Graneto will head to Oregon State this fall to major in computer science and minor in business — he's also excited to compete in intramural tennis at OSU.
Both Graneto and Kuhl are grateful for the education and support that they received at McNary.
“Being someone with a disability, you tell yourself you can't do anything as well as others. But I had a lot of teachers push me and encourage me to use the skills that I have. I'm really grateful for the last four years at McNary. It's truly been an honor,” Kuhl said.
Graneto added: “McNary provided me with a lot of great opportunities to grow and put me down the right path.”
Adam Graneto slams a backhand earlier this tennis season. (KEIZERTIMES/File)