Summer Tennis Camp 2015 Wrap-Up


On Thursday, we had the opportunity to learn from another highly decorated tennis player in Sara Scott. After a four-year turn at the #1 singles position for UCLA, Sara went on to be ranked as high as #400 in the world during her professional tennis career. She is a self-identified “aggressive baseliner,” and so her court was all about weight-transfer and driving through groundstrokes. After saying goodbye to Sara, we enjoyed a meal from Backyard Bowls before heading out for some more match-play in the afternoon.

During the last two days of camp, there was a dramatic shift in the Owl Points week-long competition, with Team Fresh 2.0 dominating the abbreviated format match-play in the afternoon and then fielding the top two doubles teams in the Friday morning doubles tournament. Coming from down 13-8, Team Fresh 2.0 ended up winning the competition 26-22.

Individual honors for the camp went to Taylor Kleine and Luke Williams, both of whom were models of competitive drive and sportsmanship.

Taylor won a number of doubles matches with different partners throughout the week and helped make the difference for his team on the last two days, going undefeated in singles and doubles play, earning himself MVP honors. Luke was our Coaches’ Award recipient, in part because of his strong play throughout the week, but even more so because he was a go-getter. Luke was ready to be challenged and to compete every day and was a total class-act in victory or defeat.DSC06066

Harrison Fell and Ben Newton put on a spirited hat competition all week, something that has become a sort of tradition at Laguna Blanca Summer Tennis Camp. Who will be top hat next year?Harrison Fell and Ben Newton Hat Competition at Camp

We ended the camp with our customary pizza party and then moved on to the team award. As part of the team competition, the winning team got to take a photo with their coach in the owl suit, and despite protests from the losing coach, Tristan and I lined up for one round of “butts up,” during which not a single camper dealt a glancing blow. Luckily for us, not even coach Ben hit his mark. Maybe next time, guys!DSC06044DSC06055DSC06061

On behalf of my staff, I ‘d like to thank all the campers, celebrity coaches and celebrity players that participated in our second Laguna Blanca Summer Tennis Camp. We’ll see you next year!
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Laguna Blanca Summer Tennis Camp 2015 Group Photo

Team Anti-Fresh Takes Commanding Lead, but Team Fresh 2.0 Not Worried

DSC05930In an interview following the day’s events, in which Team Anti-Fresh swept the point-earning opportunities to go up 8-2, Coach Ben of Team Fresh was quoted as saying, “I’m not worried.” When pressed on the matter, Coach Ben explained that his team was conserving its resources in order to make a final push during the last two days of camp. Coach Tristan declined to comment for reporters about his team’s dominance thus far, but it is widely held that the presence of his dog Boo at today’s camp may have made the difference for Team Anti-Fresh.


In reality, today’s Owl Points were earned by the narrowest of margins. Team Anti-Fresh won the early-morning footwork relay race by one stride and followed up with a narrow victory in Around-The-World just before lunch-time.

In the afternoon, Team Fresh battled back from a 5-9 deficit in sets to reach 8-9 before succumbing 6-3 in the final set of our high school format dual match.

Then, during DJ Conrad’s guest music set, everything was up for grabs until the last possible moment, with the mini-tennis tournament points changing hands in the ninth and final round of the day.

Here are some photos of the day’s action:



















An ITA Hall-of-Famer Celebrity Coach + Anti-Fresh Takes Slight Edge in First Dual Match

Barbara Hallquist DeGroot Celebrity Coach Laguna Blanca Summer Tennis CampAnti-Fresh has taken a 6-4 lead in the first of two dual matches to be held this week. The match will be completed tomorrow afternoon to break the 2-2 tie in the week-long competition for Owl Points.

In the morning, Team Fresh 2.0 put in a dominant performance untangling themselves from “the human knot” to take a 2-1 lead, but Team Anti-Fresh countered with a win during the footwork relay race.

During the early-day court rotations, we had the pleasure of welcoming celebrity coach Barbara Hallquist Degroot, arguably the most successful female player in USC history. After becoming the first female athlete at University of Southern California to receive a scholarship, Barbara went on to lead USC to four consecutive national titles, and another as a coach several years later.DSC05643After her stellar college career, Degroot went on to reach #30 in the world after a quarterfinal performance in the US Open. She also reached the quarters twice as a doubles player.

Needless to say, the slice and touch-volley court featured a very talented and experienced celebrity coach today. I had the pleasure of coaching with her at Cate School for five seasons so it was great to be on the court with her again! Continue reading

Julia Gan Takes Title at Oxnard Winter Junior Tournament

Julia Gan wins Oxnard Junior Winter TournamentLast weekend we drove down to the Oxnard Winter Junior and on Sunday afternoon came back with the hardware.

Julia has had some tough luck with draws in her first few tournaments in California, but this time breezed through an easy first-round match without dropping a game and followed that up with a convincing 6-1, 6-4 win over #1-seed Yu Mu. Mu trains full-time at Weil Tennis Academy and is currently ranked #498 in the country in the senior class.

In the finals, Gan faced a challenging 2.5-hour match against Dominique Derse. In the first set, Gan had a 4-2 lead and several break-point opportunities to go up 5-2, but Derse fought through the long service game and came roaring back to win the first set 7-5. The second set was also close, taking over an hour to complete, with Gan taking it 6-4.

The beginning of the third set looked troublesome for the Cate junior, with Derse breaking in the first game and going up 40-0 in the next. However, Julia Gan’s tenacious style-of-play was taking its toll on her opponent and Derse began to fatigue, making more unforced errors than in the previous two sets. Gan took the break back and from there she rolled on to a 6-1 third-set victory.

Julia Gan now sits at #534 in the nation for the junior class and holds the #16 spot in her native North Carolina, according to

2014: Thorpe Tennis Year-in-Review

This has been, undoubtedly, a banner year for Thorpe Tennis and the schools and individuals with whom I get to share this great game. Every day I am thankful for the opportunity to share my passion for tennis with a great group of people in this paradise called Santa Barbara. As I plan for my next big adventure (read about it here), I’m already looking forward to all the exciting things that lie ahead in 2015, but before we turn the page…

A few highlights from the year at Thorpe Tennis:

  • Worked with 49 different players from age 8 to 56DSC01588
  • Spent over 1,000 hours on-court teaching lessons and coaching high school matchesOwls Tennis Laguna Blanca at Redlands Match
  • Saw three years of planning, campaigning, and finger-crossing come to fruition with the completion of the Furukawa Tennis Courts at Laguna Blanca20140314-104815.jpg
  • Launched the Laguna Blanca Summer Tennis Camp to rave reviewsLaguna Blanca Tennis Camp 2014
  • Coached Laguna Blanca Boys’ Tennis to an 11-5 record, a second-consecutive CIF playoff appearance, the #7-seed in CIF Division 4, and a second-round showing in CIF playoffsLaguna Blanca Boys' Tennis 2014
  • Started a Laguna tennis tradition with a weekend trip to the desert for the BNP Paribas Open, where we got to see Nadal, Wawrinka, the Bryans and many other pros playLaguna Blanca Tennis in Palm Springs Tournament Trip 2014
  • Led Cate School Girls’ Tennis to an 8-5 record and another CIF playoff appearance, despite moving up two divisions and facing much stiffer competition. Cate battled through a wildcard round victory and made a strong 6-12 showing against future CIF finalists, Murrieta ValleyCate Girls' Tennis Team Photo 2014 Varsity
  • Coached Julia Gan to several singles wins against nationally-ranked juniors and brought Gan and McKenna Madden together for a Tri-Valley League finalist showing in doubles, followed by a second-round appearance in CIF IndividualsThorpe Tennis Coach Thorpe McKenna Madden Julia Gan CIF Individuals 2014 Cate Tennis
  • Enjoyed another successful year from Daniel Newton, who qualified for the Central Coast Grand Prix Masters and currently holds a ranking of #107 in California, plus more hardware for Alex Furukawa, despite an apparent blinking problem!Daniel Newton and Alex Furukawa
  • Helped Ben Furukawa achieve a personal best #112 in California ranking. Fellow Laguna senior Tristan Prinz also notched victories over Jason Xiao (f0rmerly undefeated in Condor League play), Kevin Ha (currently #308 in the country), and scored the biggest victory of his career against Dimitri Colffer (recently ranked as high as #190 in the country) in his last high school matchDSC01863
  • Had the pleasure of watching seniors from Laguna and Cate tennis programs go on to college at UCLA, University of Washington, Colorado School of Mines, Ole Miss, UPenn, Yale, and USC

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and here’s to another year of phenomenal tennis in 2015!

Trevor Thorpe
Thorpe Tennis

Julia Gan and McKenna Madden Compete at 2014 CIF Individuals Regional Event

Thorpe Tennis Coach Thorpe McKenna Madden Julia Gan CIF Individuals 2014 Cate TennisAfter qualifying for CIF Individuals via the Tri-Valley League tournament, Gan and Madden represented the Cate School in two matches.

In the first round of play, the Cate team drew Frontier League #1’s from Villanova Prep. Wasting no time and giving nothing away, Gan/Madden clinched a second-round berth with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.

Julia Gan and McKenna Madden win at CIF Individuals 2014Gan Madden great doubles team CIF Individuals 2014 Julia Gan McKenna Madden dominate opponents Thorpe Tennis

After a short break, they took the court again to face much more seasoned competition in the form of Thousand Oaks duo Mahli Silpachai and Emily Ackerman. The two freshman are both ranked in the top-25 in California and top-150 in the country in their class after years of competitive national-level tournament play.

The match was tense in the first few games of play, with the Cate girls losing the first four games, despite several deuce-games. Gan held serve with the help of Madden’s aggressive poaching to put Cate on the scoreboard, but the Thousand Oaks pair went on a run.

Through the middle part of the match, the Cate pair struggled to find a winning strategy, but found their feet again at 0-5 in the second set. With their backs against the wall, Julia Gan and McKenna Madden rallied to win the next three games on exciting, offensively-minded play from the baseline and net.

Silpachai/Ackerman were then able to regain their composure and serve out the match, but not before the Cate girls made it clear that they were capable of playing on-level with their higher-ranked opponents.

The Thousand Oaks team would go on to win their next match by a greater margin and will play in the final rounds of CIF Individuals next week.2014 Cate Regional Girls Individual Doubles Draw

In other local news, Carpinteria High senior Kelsie Bryant finally put three wins together to get her shot at the final rounds of CIF singles play. Bryant entered the tournament via her Tri-Valley League title, and so we will be following closely and cheering her on as she represents our league the final CIF tournament.

McKenna Madden and dad at CIF Individuals 2014McKenna Madden and Julia Gan celebrating a solid CIF Individuals performance