Like most of us here in the Santa Barbara Area, 2017 ended on a frustrating note for me. Eleven months of momentum quite literally went up in smoke, as the Thomas Fire ravaged our mountains, threatened our community, and for three weeks made tennis all but impossible.
What it didn’t do is dampen my enthusiasm for the way my students have performed in 2017. Whether the goal was learning to put the ball on the strings consistently or to reach new heights in elite competition, Thorpe Tennis was blessed with big results this last year.
These achievements, which you will read more about below, had a particularly profound effect on the way I was able to process the end of my marriage. Those in this community who were aware of it offered me their heartfelt support and the time I got to spend with each of my students on-court was absolute joy in a time of sadness. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who is a part of Thorpe Tennis for being my guiding light in 2017.
Like a parent recently mentioned to me, referring to the mudslide troubles of this first month of 2018, “this too shall pass.” So onward to the highlights of 2017 and the opportunities that 2018 will surely provide:
- Spent more than 1,000 hours on-court, coaching 59 players from age 6 to 54.
- Directed a fourth edition of Laguna Blanca Summer Tennis Camp for middle schoolers and incoming freshmen that featured what I consider to be the best T-shirt design yet!
- Significantly grew tennis participation at the lower/middle school level at Laguna Blanca, particularly through weekly group lessons.
- Coached Laguna Blanca Boys’ High School Tennis to a 13-3 record and our deepest CIF Playoffs run to-date (Quarterfinals of D4).
- Led Cate Girls’ Tennis to a 13-1 regular season record and a third-consecutive Tri-Valley League Title. This also coincided with our promotion to the top division in Southern California. Being a D1 CIF tennis team means that we are considered one of the top 30 teams in what is widely considered the deepest high school section in the entire country. We are, by far, the smallest school to appear in CIF Division 1 and the first team of any sport to reach the top division at Cate.
- Individually, my students at Cate had another phenomenal run:
- Grace Fuss finished Runner-Up in Tri-Valley League Singles for a second consecutive season while earning team MVP honors.
- Sarah Polowczak and Janice Ng had awesome seasons with other partners before pairing to finish Runner-Up in league (l. to sisters Cai). The pair continued their success with a first-round win in CIF Individuals.
- Jackie Cai & Carol Cai repeated their Tri-Valley League Doubles Title and won four rounds in CIF Individuals, earning them the billing as one of the top 16 doubles teams in CIF Southern Section!
Now it’s time to get back to work, Thorpe Tennis players, parents, and friends! We’ve got quite the year to top, but somehow we manage to do it again and again.
Sincerest thanks for another great year of tennis in Santa Barbara!