|(Left to right: Shayn Lozano, Coach Dabney, Cameron Wilkinson)|
This year has been an epic year for Serra's Boys' Tennis Team. For the first time in many years, they have a doubles team that climbed to the top, despite injury and mis-haps. Captains, Shayn Lozano and Cameron Wilkinson claimed League Champions at the recent Eastern League Finals Tournament defeating Tran/Kowluri of Mira Mesa 6-4, 6-2. This qualified them for Individual CIF playoffs that will take place at The Barnes Tennis Center on May 21.
Cameron fought off an abdominal muscle strain while playing during the season, so he created an underhand serve that not only proved effective, but kept his stomach in tact without pain. Shayn had missed a few matches due to an educational tour to Washington D.C. along with preparing for the upcoming SAT exam, which gave Cameron different partners to play with. These issues did not stop this amazing duo, who went out on the court with confidence, perseverance, unity, and dominance! They had fun, too!! The best part about these partners is that they are both Juniors, giving them another opportunity to do the same thing next year for Serra. In fact, there are no seniors on the team at all!
The rest of the team had a phenomenal year claiming a tie for third place with Patrick Henry High School. Next year will be the year to watch Serra, because this young team now has the experience they need to take the league. These guys understand the meaning of hard work and dedication. They work together well, have respect for one another, have respect for their coaches, and do whatever it takes to get the job done. They are: Kade Stewart, Colton Rij, John Halstead, Jordan Nguyen, Cole Smith, Brandon Miranda, Hoang Nguyen, Kalvin Lam, Shawn Tran, Bryan Chau, Alexis Olea, Brandon Tran, Andy Huynh, and our foreign exchange student from Sweden, David Ekelund. David will be missed so much next year with all he has contributed to the team! He made it all the way to the back draw of league finals where he lost to San Diego's Gabe Cauchon-De Jesus. He played both singles and doubles, giving Serra the wins they needed to push them forward.
Head Coach, Lorene Dabney, has tried to instill a positive work ethic with the boys so that not only do they play hard, but have fun doing it. She has created a team atmosphere of mutual respect, pride, and love of tennis. The team enjoys coming out to practice, sometimes continuing to play long after it has ended. With that much enthusiasm expressed from each member, it's no wonder that this program has grown continuously with Dabney's leadership. However, she couldn't do this without the support of the "parent brigade" who provides snacks, rides, and cheering on the sidelines. Serra has the most parent support of any team in the league, with some who don't even have sons on the team coming out to cheer them on. That's special! Another big support has been from Assistant Coach, Mike Espinosa, who gives coaching advice and tips on technique and strategy. The team really responds well to Mike's assistance and positivity, blending in well with Dabney's philosophy, working together for the best interest of the team.
This team has the right combination for success. Everyone is close, kind, thoughtful, and great at tennis, so look for more amazing things from them next year!