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This Lake Mary High grad is a standout tennis player at West Point

Unlike most young teens, David Gorshein already had very specific college plans when he was a freshman at Lake Mary High School.

“I wanted to go to an elite school, I wanted to do Army stuff, and I wanted to play college tennis,” says David, who turns 21 on March 28, “and West Point is quite literally the perfect combination of those things. So, I’d say by 14, I was pretty set on going to West Point.”

And, also unlike most young teens, David’s talent and work ethic enabled him to turn his dreams into reality. After a standout high-school tennis career, in which he was named Seminole County’s Player of the Year three times, David was recruited to play tennis for the Black Knights of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Then, to earn his appointment, David underwent a complex application process: He had to receive a congressional nomination (he got one from U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy), pass a series of physical assessments, pass several medical exams (he needed a special waiver because he had open-heart surgery as an infant), and then fill out the traditional college application.
David is currently a junior at West Point, where he is working on a major in international affairs and a minor in terrorism studies and is on an environmental engineering track, as well. He has additional responsibilities as the Cadet in Charge for the terrorism studies program, which requires him to host VIPs who visit the Academy and organize events for his fellow cadets.

As if that’s not enough responsibility for any young man, David is also a top player on the Black Knights’ tennis team.
“He’s really done a great job for us,” says Jim Poling, West Point’s tennis coach, who grew up in Winter Park and led the Rollins College men’s tennis team to a 2001 NCAA Division II championship during his tenure as head coach of the Tars (1993-2002). “He’s one of our leaders and one of our captains, and he’s improved a ton since he’s been here.”

Even though much of his sophomore and junior tennis seasons have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, David has made an impact for the Black Knights both on and off the tennis courts. He posted a solid 4-4 record in singles and 7-5 record in doubles last season and recently started bringing his waffle iron to Saturday morning team practices so he can make breakfast for his teammates.

“He just told me, ‘Coach, I’m going to do this,’ and I said, ‘Sounds great!’” Coach Poling remembers. “I had one of his waffles, and they’re pretty good!”

A Family Affair
Tennis has been a part of David’s life for as far back as he can remember. He was born in Denver, Colorado, and moved to Florida with parents Linda and Doron Gorshein when he was a toddler. His mother, a local photographer, was an avid league tennis player for years, and paternal grandfather Dov Gorshein, a New Jersey physician, was an alternate on Israel’s Davis Cup tennis team. Sister Leah, 23, who just earned a master’s degree in counterterrorism at Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center near Tel Aviv, also played tennis when she was younger. Maternal grandfather Richard Dowling is a lifelong tennis fanatic who ran a successful tennis league in South Florida for many years.

While in high school, David would make daily one-hour round trips to Azalea Lane Tennis Center in Winter Park so he could practice with the best young players in Central Florida.

“I probably picked up my first racquet at four or five years old, and I played my first tournament when I was eight at Red Bug Lake Park,” David says. “I enjoy it, of course, and the amount of time I’ve put in over my career is evidence of that.”

In addition to his love for tennis, David also grew up with an appreciation for the military. He has been to Israel eight times, including three times in the past two years, and he learned at an early age about the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He recognizes, though, as a Jewish young man, he is in the minority at West Point and in the U.S. military in general.

“Coming from an Israeli family, I have many friends and family members who have served or are currently serving in the IDF, so I’m very familiar with it,” David says. “In the United States, Jewish people are certainly underrepresented. But I think people like me who have a strong attachment to Israel also have a strong attachment to military service.”

When he completes his four years at West Point, David plans to pursue an eight-year Army career working as an infantry officer and transitioning into military intelligence. After that, David is hoping to follow a career path similar to that of his father, a politically active broadcasting network executive, by combining work in the private sector with defense and politics.

“Everything I had hoped to achieve as a teenager is still potentially possible for me at this point, and I feel happy and fortunate to say that,” David says. “West Point has been incredibly difficult, and I’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles along the way, but it’s been a very rewarding experience. I have no regrets.”

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