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Maverick Tennis Sends Players to Ojai for Annual Tournament

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On the weekend of April 23, La Costa Canyon tennis players Zach Ermert (11), Ethan Baurle (10) and  Mitchell Davis (9) competed in the CIF draw at the USTA Ojai Valley Tournament in Ojai, California. Each year in Ojai, teams from all over Southern California send their best players to compete in the CIF tournament, in hopes that their respective school will be represented well. As a USTA Level 3 tournament, the draw displays the best competition that Southern California high school tennis has to offer.

 

2016 marked the tournament’s 116th year, as the larger Ojai Valley Tournament is comprised of multiple junior draws, all while running concurrently with the PAC-12 collegiate men’s and women’s tennis championships at the same site. Ojai additionally played host to the California Community College Championships and the Division III and independent colleges event.

 

Tennis history has left its mark in Ojai, and the annual stop on the junior tour is one adored by many, and is evidently one of the most exciting events for a high school athlete to compete in.

 

“There is an atmosphere not only full of adrenaline, but one that is really only found in Ojai,” Head Coach Tamara Tanner said. “I can only speak for myself, but I haven’t found another tournament around the world that has the same feeling and history as Ojai.”

 

Junior Zach Ermert competed in the CIF Boys Singles, in draw line 22. Meanwhile, freshman Mitchell Davis and sophomore Ethan Baurle competed as a doubles team in the CIF Boys Doubles Division, in draw line 39.

 

As for Ermert, who paid his third visit to Ojai in three Varsity seasons, the 2016 tournament provided yet another opportunity for the junior to display his talents and represent La Costa Canyon on one of the biggest stages.

 

During most of the regular season, Davis and Baurle were preoccupied with filling the #2 and #3 singles spots for the Mavs, and had played a small amount of doubles together coming into the weekend.

 

The chance to play in Ojai is something that many high school tennis players within San Diego County shoot for, and it is an experience that is hard to match.

 

“Tennis legends who have won Grand Slam titles and Davis Cup titles representing the United States in the Olympics have played and coached in this tournament,” Tanner said. “It’s a great experience.”

 

Ermert, Davis, and Baurle were chosen to compete in Ojai during a meeting held by the CIF Southern Section coaches by their current USTA ranking and the 2016 season’s win/loss record at the time of the meeting.

“I chose to submit these three boys because I felt they earned the opportunity to compete in such a high level event,” Tanner said. “Southern California is one of the strongest sections nationwide leaving a deep pool of players to choose from.”

 

In his first match, Ermert faced Jacob Bullard of Chaminade College Prep in Calabasas. Bullard, who was hot off a championship run at the Long Beach Level 3 event, handled Ermert with relative ease in two sets, 6-2, 6-3. Still, in the face of defeat, competing at Ojai is something that few athletes can claim. Bullard’s fun wouldn’t last long, as he was quickly routed by Coronado High School senior and Vanderbilt University commit Billy Rowe in the Round of 16, in straight sets.

As for Davis and Baurle, the newly formed team went up against the doubles tandem of Jed Kronenberg and Adam Sraberg of the Harvard-Westlake School in north Los Angeles. They were defeated in their first match as well, falling in two sets by a score of 6-2, 6-4.

 

Connor Hance of Peninsula High School would go on to defeat Corona Del Mar’s Bjorn Hoffmann in the singles championship match 6-2, 6-2. In the doubles, Connor Lee and Bryce Pereira of San Marino would be crowned champions, defeating Point Loma’s Keegan Smith and Ivan Thamma 6-2, 7-6.

 

Now with the experience of Ojai in the past, the competitors will look to use the experience of the tournament to help make them successful as their tennis careers continue.

 

“I believe all three guys proved they belong at this level of competition,” Tanner said. “Not only to compete, but to come back even stronger next year.”

 

Despite dismal results, the way in which the three Maverick particpants handled themselves through the entirety of the weekend reflects a larger degree of success at La Costa Canyon High School, as true Maverick Pride was put on display.

 

“I was very proud of the way these boys not only represented themselves, but the school, the section, the team and their families,” Tanner said. “Winning and losing with class is something that our entire team values and I think the whole team exemplified this throughout the entire season.”

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Maverick Tennis Sends Players to Ojai for Annual Tournament