Tennis takes a golden gateway to success

Hurley Qi ’22

With several tournament wins and medals under the team’s belt, ten players on the tennis team (Brian Ngo, Hao Nguyen, Max Hightower, Marco Nino, Hurley Qi, Wade Richter, Pedro Saiz, Carson Steele, and David Torres) traveled with Mr. Chuck Kenny and Mr. Carlos Roman to San Francisco before spring break to play fellow Jesuit high school St. Ignatius College Preparatory.

Leaving Houston on Wednesday, March 6, the tennis team arrived in San Francisco late at night. After a peaceful sleep, the team took a ferry boat ride to visit Alcatraz Prison. “Alcatraz was an amazing experience!” junior Pedro Saiz exclaimed. “It was really cool to see so much history in one place. Prisoners were so close to normal lives, they could literally see it across the bay. It must’ve been torture for them. I’m glad I’m not locked up there!”

The team then spent their afternoon at Union Square, followed by a quick visit to China Town at night.

Next morning, the tennis team toured St. Ignatius College Preparatory and learned about the school’s history. The team then did a quick tour of San Francisco’s signature architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge.

After introducing fellow team players and a prayer, the SJ tennis team began their friendly match with the St. Ignatius tennis team. Varsity single player Hao Nguyen, after losing the first set, stayed focused and came back winning the super tiebreaker 10-3. The rest of the team also played their hardest while enjoying their last day at the Golden City with fellow Jesuits.

The entire trip was given a sweet finish with a visit to Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory.

After returning from spring break, the entire team stayed on track and worked constantly under the blazing sun to prepare for District. Finally, all three tennis teams entered the season-ending tournament with confidence and determination. Varsity single Hao Nguyen, with four years of experience, conquered match by match and defeated opponent by opponent; with a final effortless stroke from his battle-hardened racket, he took another gold medal home, along with the Varsity District Single champion title.

In a similar way, junior varsity player Pedro Saiz eased through the tournament. His racket, a seemingly indestructible hammer, cooperated perfectly with his stunning skills and defeated his opponents.  Reaching the final battle, his will unwavering, he played his game and was crowned the JV District Single champion.

“Winning districts was a defining moment for me,” Pedro state after securing the medal. “I proved to myself and my teammates and coaches what I wanted to since the start. I’m very proud of the whole team and all of our efforts to win this season and many of us did win. Even those who didn’t had amazing runs and fought hard. I’m looking forward to next season!”

Along with Pedro, Brian Ngo and David Torres worked flawlessly together and won match after match. At the end of the day, with all the volley winners and aces, Brian and David took home the JV Doubles District Champion titles. “It was a great experience so we have something to build on next year,” said Brian. Along with the excellent performance from John Whelan, Hurley Qi, and Wade Richter, the JV team also earned first place without any Mixed Doubles points.

Finally, freshman Cody Clark played his best game of the season and secured the District Singles title.

At their banquet, the tennis team marked an ending to their phenomenal season.