Grand Slam | Nate Neustadt
Around San Diego, CCA is widely regarded as a STEM-based school. We’re viewed as a school with great academics and lack-luster sports, but our boys and girls tennis teams say otherwise. Coming off a winning season last semester, our Girls Tennis Team is a force to be reckoned with. And the Boys Tennis Team is no different. Last spring, the first season during the pandemic, they became the league champions and got to the semifinals of the CIF Open Division CO-ED State Championship. Now, the boys in red and black are back and hungry for another championship.
Three weeks ago the head coach, Christopher Black, held tryouts for the Boys Junior Varsity and Varsity Tennis Teams. Over 80 people showed up to prove themselves, but there were less than 40 spots split between both Junior Varsity and Varsity. From personal experience, I can tell you that these tryouts are no joke. They are two weeks of constant pressure, nonstop matches, and a constant yearning to do better. My time during these two rigorous weeks was tough. It’s an incredibly difficult process. In the end, over 40 people were cut, including me, hearts were broken and tears were shed.
There’s a lot of stress and pressure throughout the process and it sometimes affects the players. Oliver Atwell, a Sophomore and a Varsity player said “I feel a little bit of pressure. It’s very nerve-racking.” To deal with the pressure, Oliver said that he’s “just going to try to have a good time and not think about it.” Oliver is a first-year on the tennis team, and he shows promise to become one of the greats at CCA.
This year is the first ‘normal’ tennis season since COVID-19 started two years ago. In 2020, the season was cut short after only three games, and in 2021 we witnessed the first CO-ED CCA tennis team in history. Now, it’s only the guys again playing in the Spring. Some may think that due to the abnormal seasons, our tennis team has changed. But Zachary Pellouchoud, Senior and Varsity Team Captain, feels that the team hasn’t changed at all. This is Zachary’s first year as the Varsity Team Captain. He feels some pressure, but “I think the great thing about our program and coaching staff is that we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves. We compete well…but we’re mainly in this to have a great time.” Zachary said.
Christopher Black, a CCA teacher, and Varsity Head Coach is the glue that holds the team altogether. Asked if he felt pressure coaching such a prestigious team, he said “No. I think with a team like ours there are high expectations, but I think that’s a privilege, not a pressure…If you’re feeling the pressure that means you’ve put yourself or your team in a position to do something great.” Christopher Black has high hopes for his team, and he believes they’ll be able to claim their third consecutive CIF Championship.
At CCA, our Boys Tennis Team is a force to be reckoned with. Coming off of two consecutive CIF Championships and hungry for their third, this season they are the ones to watch. With successful tryouts that filled the team with new and veteran players alike, everyone is hopeful that they will achieve the accolades they deserve. Our school will be cheering on the Boys Tennis Team throughout their new season, and we all look forward to seeing them soar.