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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

2010 boys’ tennis team sets the bar high

Throughout the school’s long history, there have been few sports teams that have achieved the level of success that the 2010 boys’ varsity tennis team enjoyed. At the end of the terrific season, the team finished at second in the entire nation, behind only Menlo School in Atherton.

The first major victory of the season was at the Wawona Peachtree Classic tournament, a state tournament featuring 108 different teams. The team crushed all competition, placing first in the tournament with an amazing 27-1 record, winning three matches 7-0 and one match 6-1.

“It was my first tournament as a freshman, so I was really pumped up,” junior Henry Shen, said.
This performance was a preview of the rest of the season.

“I expected us to get to at least CCS finals. I knew that we had a really strong team,” Shen said. “A lot of [the people on the team] were nationally ranked.”

‘11 alumnus Nikhil Jayashankar, who now plays for Northwestern University, agreed that the team showed great talent.

“Before the season, I expected to win CCS and be one of the best, if not the best high school team,” Jayashankar said. “I thought we had a good chance to go undefeated.”

After the Peachtree Classic tournament, the team was invited to participate in the prestigious Newport National Tournament, a national tournament where the team was seeded third. After a strong performance, the Falcons lost to Menlo in the semifinals.

Throughout the rest of the season, the team steamrolled through all other teams, warming-up for the year-end tournaments.

“We were always the favorite to win which gave us confidence,” said ‘11 alumnus Andrew Lo, who now trains at the Chris Evert Tennis Academy in Florida.

But along with the increased confidence from being the instant favorites, there was also a huge amount of pressure.

“There was a lot of pressure to perform well and win every match we played,” Jayashankar said.

“Even the best teams thought they were the underdogs when they played us.”

Finally, the season ended as expected when the Falcons met arch-rival Menlo School in the CCS Finals. Ultimately, with victory hovering close, they lost 3-4.

“The bad part was that it was four losses all to Menlo in three situations where we were supposed to meet our expectations,” ‘10 alumnus Michael McGinnis said, who now plays for Boston College.

Initially, the Falcons were leading 3-2, but then a flurry of sudden injuries doomed the team. In the last two remaining matches, both John Lamble and Andrew Hsieh began to cramp badly, ultimately losing both matches.

The team was disappointed that they did not fulfill their initial expectations of winning the championship, Jayashankar said.

“If we had won, then we would have been ranked No. 1 in the nation,” Shen said.

Despite the disappointment that the Falcons suffered in the heartbreaking CCS loss, players still look back fondly at the season.

“The best part about being such a good team was that we got to play some of the best teams in the country,” Jayashankar said. “It was so unique to have that many good players who got recruited to play in college all on one high school team. It was something that none of us will forget.”
McGinnis said the season was unforgettable.

“We only lost to one team the entire season, [which was] Menlo,” McGinnis said. “Although we did not accomplish all of our original expectations, we still had a pretty amazing season in terms of what we accomplished as a team.”

Currently, the boys’ varsity tennis team only has a few of the members from its 2010 dream team left, but they hope replicate that team’s success.

“We’re still pretty strong and we have some strong freshman and sophomores, like [No. 1 singles player] Kial Kaiser,” Shen said. “Obviously it’s not going to be as strong as the last two years because we lost [most of] that entire team. [But] I’m going to play my best and contribute to the team.”

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