Game, Set, and Match SJ

By Hurley Qi ’22

With a new junior varsity group added this year, the Strake Jesuit tennis team finished their tryouts before the Christmas break and marked the start of their spring campaign with a barbecue kickoff on January 13th.

Mr. Kenny, one of the tennis coaches, has high expectations for this year’s team. “We are going to win district for all three teams, and we have a lot of talented players on the team. Everyone is going to play their best, train hard and show great sportsmanship,” he said.

Immediately after the break, all four tennis teams began practicing for the upcoming tournaments. When asked about their thoughts on the upcoming season and the after school practices, freshmen double line 1 player, Alejandro Velasco, commented, “Practice is fun, and it gives the team a change to find out how everyone plays, and I expect us to win most and if not all the matches because our team is very capable.”

With just less than two weeks of practice, the JV and freshman team played their first tournament at Foster High School.

Fueled by the heavy competitive spirit present, the Crusaders all delivered their best tennis and opened the spring season with a fantastic start. JV Single A Pedro Saiz took the gold medal and freshmen Reed Hightower earned the silver. Jesuit players David Torres and Brian Ngo won the championship in the JV Doubles A division. Freshmen Hurley Qi and junior Gavin Smith won the 2nd place Singles medal and Consolation Championship medal respectively in JV Single B.

The freshman team had equally wonderful results. Alejandro Velasco and Chris Ngo earned the 2nd place Doubles medals, while classmate Cody Clark finished 2nd in Singles.

Pedro Saiz, JV Single champion, stated, “There were a lot good tennis players in the tournament. It was fun to compete against them, and I’m glad that I was able to be in the tournament and play against my teammates in the final. I hope to be able to compete and have fun again in the future against other schools and win more medals for SJ.”

Just six days later, the freshman team embarked on another conquest at the Pasadena Tournament with Chris Ngo and Alejandro Velasco winning 2nd place in Doubles A; Matthew Ellithorpe and Robbie Valcarcel taking home the gold medal in Doubles B; Lucas Vittor and Cody Clark winning 2nd and 1st in Singles A and B.

Chris Ngo remarked after the tournament, “I think the tennis tournament was a remarkable experience because we did really well and got to meet people from other schools.”

Finally, the varsity team also started the Spring season with a great result in the Cy Fair ISD tournament. All players made it to the medal round, including tournament champion, Hao Nguyen.