Tanay Panguluri is not your standard Metro Player of the Year.

We haven't selected the usual top tennis player in the metro, although our selection this year is indeed an excellent player. He's a state champion three times over with a 22-6 record.

Panguluri is about much more. A senior, he earned the recognition with his commitment to the intangibles that move a team forward. A team-first attitude. The leadership required to guide a young team. Leaving your ego in your racket bag.

Make no mistake: Panguluri is a fine tennis player. He was a vital piece on Class 2A team championships won by Wayzata in 2023 and 2024. He and sophomore Jacob Salisbury combined to win the Class 2A doubles championship on June 7.

Panguluri's presence and skills as a leader led Wayzata coach Jeff Prondzinski to make him a team captain. Based on the results — another team state championship — it was a job he took to heart. He knew his final season could not include a letdown.

"I think this one meant more to me because I'm senior," Panguluri said after Wayzata was awarded the championship trophy. "It could be my last time playing team tennis."

Panguluri is headed to Indiana University. He might play club tennis there. He isn't sure.

No matter. He'll go there proud that he helped a young team back to state championship heights.

"I think leading this team especially was hard. It's a young talent crew," he said. "We didn't take any team for granted. We believed in it. We didn't think anything was impossible. The only way to achieve the impossible is to think it's possible."