Cate’s 44-Match Win-Streak Snapped by Strong Foothill Tech Singles Lineup

Cate Girls’ Tennis lost a league match for the first time since October of 2014 today while playing visiting Foothill Tech. The match was a cliff-hanger until the third round-of-play, but in the end, the Servons came up short in a 7-11 defeat.

How the match unfolded

Foothill Tech fielded a lineup featuring several several seniors who will be playing at the D3 level in college next year, as well as a third tournament-level player. The formidable singles lineup left Cate as the considerable underdog coming into the match, but Cate pushed the Dragons to their limit.

The first round of play ended in a draw, with Foothill Tech sweeping singles play 6-1, 6-0, 6-1. Cate fired off a similarly dominant performance in doubles, taking three wins of their own (6-0, 6-1, 6-3).

In the second round-of-play, it was much the same, with Cate dominating against Foothill’s #2 and #3 doubles lines, while the Dragons picked up 6-0, 6-0 wins from their #1 and #2 singles players. Junior Aminah Hill broke through with a 6-3 victory playing against the #3 singles opponent, but senior Yuki Kobayashi and junior Ashi Kamra dropped a 4-1 lead against the Foothill #1’s in a 5-7 defeat.

The Foothill #1 doubles team got hot after their comeback and took a 6-1 victory over junior/sophomore combo Julianna Forry/Ella Chang, who had registered quick wins in their first two rounds.

Senior Fritze Mayer and junior Emily May finished the day undefeated with 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 victories to move to 10-0 on the season, but it wasn’t enough for the Servons, who lost 2 doubles matches in the final round.

Despite a mathematically inevitability of losing games, Aminah Hill and Ellie Tunnell battled on to try for a 9-9 tie in the last two matches on-court. Tunnell came back from 0-4 to fall just short at 4-6, while Hill, dropped her final set against the UC Santa Cruz-bound Jolie Seemayer 5-7.

Coaches Thorpe’s Comments

Our streak came to an end, but we competed hard and showed our character. The girls were both fierce competitors and exhibited exceptional sportsmanship. Sometimes you learn more in defeat than in victory, and what was revealed today leaves me feeling very proud as a coach. We faced a tough opponent who took a well-deserved win from us today, but I feel strongly that this match will be a big motivator for us going forward as a team and we’ll be looking forward to the rematch in the fall!

What’s Next for Cate Girls’ Tennis

Cate plays its next few matches in Ojai, with Villanova High School on Thursday at 3:30pm, followed by an exhibition match against Thacher on Saturday at 3pm.

Match Week 2: Cate Girls Go 2-0, Laguna Boys split while playing short-handed

It was a busy week for Coach Thorpe, with four matches in five days that also included a match between Cate and Laguna Blanca, but there will be little respite as the same is scheduled for the following week. On to the recaps!

Monday, April 19: Cate d. Providence 14-4

Cate Girls’ Tennis played Providence High School for the first time and came out with a convincing victory. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, April 21: Foothill Tech d. Laguna Blanca 12-6

The Owls took their first defeat of the season while playing short-handed. Freshman #1 Keanu Nakamura lost a tight 4-6 set in the first round before subbing out and Laguna struggled for wins in singles. Senior Andreas Jackson picked up the lone win with a 6-2 victory against the Dragons #3 player.

In doubles, the Owls faired much better, taking 5-of-9 sets despite going winless against Foothill’s #1 team.

Senior combo Ryan Purkait and Nic Richmond took 6-1, 6-0 victories and junior/sophomore combo Ben Rodgers and Aden Meisel added two wins. In the first round, Rodgers and Meisel battled to an 11-9 tie-break win against the Foothill #2 before cruising to a 6-0 win in the third round. George Nicks and Cody Busch-Weiss added a 6-4 set against the #3’s to the Laguna win-column.

Thursday, April 22: Cate d. Laguna Blanca 12-6

Despite winning just one game in three sets against Laguna’s freshman #1 Mina Yazadzhiev, Cate managed to put another match in the win column.

Buoyed by sweeps at #1 and #2 doubles, Cate finished the match with seven wins in doubles and five in singles for a 12-6 final score.

Senior Fritze Mayer and junior Emily May won their sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 to move to 7-0 on the season, while senior/junior combo Yuki Kobayashi and Ashi Kamra won 6-4, 6-0, 6-1. Kamra is now a perfect 9-0 on the season. Julianna Forry and Sophie Alijani added a 7-5 win in the first round.

Juniors Aminah Hill and Ellie Tunnell each finished the day 2-1, while sophomore Ella Chang rallied from losses in the first two rounds to defeat the Laguna #2 6-3 in the final round of play.

Cate moves to 3-0 with the win and will play next on Monday, April 26th against an undefeated Foothill Tech team that threatens to end a 44-match win-streak in Tri-Valley League play that stretches all the way back to 2014.

Friday, April 23: Laguna Blanca d. St. Bonaventure 14-4

The Owls tasted victory for the second time this season (2-1 overall) with a convincing victory over short-handed St. Bonny, who had to forfeit all three rounds at #2 and #3 doubles. The match was anything but boring though, as Bonny fielded a solid singles lineup and a determined #1 doubles team.

The stand-out performance of the day came from sophomore Aden Meisel, playing at the #3 singles position for the first time. After watching his teammates fall to the #1 singles player from St. Bonaventure 4-6 and 0-6, Meisel turned it around for the Owls with a 6-4 victory in the last match of the day. The Laguna sophomore finished the day undefeated with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 line.

Laguna took two-of-three in doubles, with Ryan Purkait and Nic Richmond collecting a 6-1 win and frosh combo Cody Busch-Weiss and Jake Gidney also defeating the Bonny #1’s with a 6-4 score.

In singles, senior Andreas Jackson took two-of-three and looked to be building back some of his old form after a long layoff from regular competitive play, while junior Ben Rodgers took a nice 6-4 victory over the St. Bonaventure #2.

Laguna Blanca plays next on Friday, April 30th in the second Laguna/Cate rivalry matchup, where Coach Thorpe will hope to turn the tide for the Owls, who lost to his Cate girls’ team earlier in the week. Confused yet? So am I! So am I. What a crazy year this has been over at Thorpe Tennis!

Cate Dominant in First-Ever Match Against Providence

Cate Girls’ Tennis moved to 2-0 on the season with a 14-4 win over Providence High School at the Municipal Courts of Santa Barbara today.

In the first meeting of the two Santa Barbara Area private schools, the match began fairly even in the opening games. However, Fritze Mayer and Emily May steam-rolled ahead with a 6-0 win at #1 doubles and then the flood-gates opened.

Junior Aminah Hill picked up a convincing 6-2 win at the #1 singles spot and fellow junior Ellie Tunnell added a 6-3 victory over her opponent at the #2 spot. Yuki Kobayashi moved to the doubles lineup to pair with Ashi Kamra and the pair recorded another 6-2 set to bring Cate to a 4-0 lead.

Providence fought back with wins at #3 singles and doubles, but would only collect two more wins the rest of the way.

Junior/Freshman combo Julianna Forry and Sophie Alijani recovered from a 4-6 first round to defeat the Providence #1 squad in the second round and also beat the #2’s in the final round of play.

After rolling through their second round opponents Mayer and May were replaced by sophomore/freshman combo Nikita Nautiyal and Caroline Batchelder who made the most of the opportunity with a 6-1 victory. Meanwhile, in singles, Hill and Tunnell swept their matches to go a combined 6-0 on the day.

Cate Girls’ Tennis plays next on Thursday at the Laguna Blanca School, with the match beginning at 3:30pm.

Match Week 1: Cate Earns Clean Sweep, Laguna Off-And-Running

For the first time in 12 seasons of coaching the girls’ tennis program at Cate and boys’ tennis at Laguna Blanca, both teams are in-season at the same time. The move from fall to spring play for girls’ tennis certainly has complicated things, but the juggling act has worked so far!

We have now completed Week 1 of what will be a four-week mad-dash of match-play and it was a strong one for both of my teams.

Thursday, April 15: Cate d. St. Bonaventure 18-0

Cate Girls’ Tennis picked up right where we left off, notching a 43rd consecutive league victory over visiting St. Bonaventure High School. The Servons surrendered just six games en-route to a clean sweep victory.

Cate was led by Aminah Hill, who returns for her third year as a mainstay in the singles lineup, while senior Fritze Mayer and her partner Emily May held down the top spot in doubles. Mayer and her co-captain Yuki Kobayashi are two of three seniors featuring in the Cate lineup this season, along with Madeline Vanica.

The Servons play next on Monday, April 19th at the Santa Barbara Municipal Courts in a rescheduled match against Providence High School, an opponent Cate has not yet faced in high school match-play.

Friday, April 16: Laguna Blanca d. Bishop Diego 11-7

The Owls opened their 2021 season playing short a few players, but came through with a nice 11-7 win against visiting Bishop Diego.

Bishop’s lineup featured one of the top junior players in Santa Barbara County (and an alum of my summer tennis camps!!!) in Luke Williams, who went 3-0 on the day. However, freshman Keanu Nakamura showed flashes of his talent even in his first high school match, playing Williams close in the opening games and pushing his opponent to top-speed.

Laguna did manage to pick up four wins in singles, with #2 singles player Kai Suzuki opening his junior season with a pair of victories. Senior Rodrick Zhu and sophomore Kent Dunn added to the tally with a win each.

The match was won though with dominance from the Owls in doubles player. Co-captains Nic Richmond and Ben Rodgers got the lone win on the day against the Bishop #1’s who normally play #2 and #3 singles for the Cardinals. Outside the top-line, it was all W’s for Laguna Blanca, leading to a total of seven wins on that half of the scorecard.

Laguna plays next at home on Wednesday, April 21st against league-rival Foothill Tech. When these teams last met, it was with a playoff spot on the line during the 2019 season. The Owls took that match 10-8 and went on to reach the CIF Quarterfinals with a strong playoff run!

Thorpe Tennis Mini-Camps Are Back!

This summer I made the hard decision to cancel all Mini-Camp sessions. I did so with much sadness, but out of an abundance of caution. While I recognize that most other summer tennis programs were held, I felt that with the summer spike and the general lack of information about the virus, it was not in the best interest of the Thorpe Tennis Community’s health to hold these events.

I know how much my students look forward to these camps, so I am very excited to tell you that I now feel confident that I can safely provide the Thorpe Tennis Camp experience.

Mini-Camps This Holiday Season:

Thanksgiving Camp – Monday-Wednesday, Nov 23-25 10am-2pm (10am-12pm on day 3) $225

Winter Break Camp 1 – Monday-Wednesday, Dec 21-23 10am-2pm $270

Winter Break Camp 2 – Monday-Wednesday, Dec 28-30 10am-2pm $270

*lunch included, except on day 3 of Thanksgiving Camp

I need your help to make these camps a success, so I ask that you please RSVP at your earliest convenience. I have set an 8-player minimum for each of these camps to be held, so a solid response for the Thorpe Tennis Community is essential!

Warm Regards,

Coach Thorpe

p.s. If you’d like to mark your calendar for 2021, check out the dates on the Thorpe Tennis Mini-Camp page!

Tennis is on its way back (and other bits of encouraging news)

It’s been more than two months now since I made the decision to put a pause on tennis lessons and I think its safe to say it’s been a real rollercoaster ride for everyone since then. In recent weeks, as outdoor recreation facilities (including tennis courts) have begun to open up again, I’ve started teaching on a one-on-one basis. I’m happy to report now that I see a lot of positive developments and can see a lot more tennis in our near future!

Tennis has a number of natural advantages over other sports and activities that considerably reduce the risk of Covid-19 contraction:

Tennis is a sport that requires no physical contact. Players can avoid ever coming within six feet of each other with relative ease.

Tennis, in the case of Santa Barbara, is played exclusively outside and that typically means a warm, sunny environment. Coronavirus research suggests that outdoor spaces are much safer than indoor environments as far as the passing of the virus. Not only do outdoor sports allow for the dispersion of droplets, but it has also been demonstrated by the DHS that Covid-19 has a lifespan of only 1.5-2 minutes when under direct sunlight.

In addition to the rapid inactivation of the virus, sunlight also provides the human body with Vitamin D, a critical element in a healthy immune system. It’s estimated that approximately half of all people living in the United States have inadequate levels of Vitamin D. Considering the areas that have been hardest hit (parts of the US and Europe that were deep in winter), there is a likely correlation between sunlight and the rate of serious complications from Covid-19.

Research conducted by Northwestern University concluded that healthy Vitamin D levels could reduce mortality rates in Coronavirus cases by 50%. It should also be noted that there is a very strong correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and the age-group most likely to die from the virus: those 65 years of age and up.

Recent data points to much lower mortality rates than previously thought, and those deaths are heavily predicated on age and pre-virus health condition, which means its fairly easy to comprehend the potential risks on an individual basis:

Today, I came upon a research study just published by USC, which determined the rate of infection in LA County based on antibody testing. Their data suggests an infection rate of 4.65% of the overall population of the county (10.6 million).

By my math, that’s about half a million people, of which so far only 1,821 have died due to Coronavirus. While every death is regrettable, that works out to a mortality rate of only 0.36% in LA County. I find this number to be very encouraging, because prior to antibody studies like this one, we were using “positive test result” as the denominator. In this case, there are 38,100 positive cases in LA County, which led to an estimated mortality rate that was 13X the number we now estimate.

In addition to the lower-than-expected mortality rates, data about susceptibility to serious illness also should offer most tennis players some peace of mind. The best data I could find regarding co-morbidities and age-grouping is a weekly report for New York City Coronavirus related deaths.

In the most recent report, it was found that only 0.87% of those who died were known not to have serious underlying conditions such as vital organ disease, diabetes, cancer, immunodeficiency, or obesity. In addition, 71% of those who died were more than 65 years of age. In short, if you are under 65 and healthy like the vast majority of tennis players, the risk of serious illness from Coronavirus is very low.

Speaking of antibody testing, it’s becoming more widely available (including in Santa Barbara) and early research indicates a high likelihood of at least short-term immunity following recovery:

According to the largest antibody study to-date, carried out by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, nearly all Coronavirus patients developed a healthy amount of antibodies to the virus. While not a guarantee of immunity, there is a high correlation and studies of other coronaviruses have consistently shown it to be the case. Dr. Fauci, head of the NIAID, has gone on record saying “it’s a reasonable assumption that this virus is not changing very much. If we get infected now and it comes back next February or March we think this person is going to be protected.”

For those concerned about “reinfection” stories circulating in the media, these are very rare instances that have very logical explanations in the form of statistically expected testing inaccuracies. In the South Korean case, false positives were registered due to sensitivity levels that picked up dead virus cells.

A few words of caution:

While, for the vast majority of players in the Thorpe Tennis Community, the risk of spreading or contracting a serious case of Covid-19 is close to zero, caution is still needed in order to protect those around us who do not fit the low-risk profile. It’s not just the individuals playing tennis, but also those they come into contact with off the tennis court that need to be considered. Also, while I’ve been quoting some of the foremost researchers in the field, there is still plenty we don’t know about this virus, so a gradual and thoughtful progression back to the courts is still advisable.

What’s Next for Thorpe Tennis?

For the time being, I will be continuing to teach only on a one-on-one basis, but I’m certainly hopeful that one day soon we’ll be back to our Sunday Sessions and Summer Tennis Camps. It has been so great to get back out with a few students these last couple of weeks and the time off solidified for me just how much I love my work!

Coach Trevor

Thorpe Tennis Girls Named Co-Player of the Year for Santa Barbara County

The Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable has recently announced Carol Cai and Grace Fuss as the co-winners of the “tennis player of the year” award for the 2019-2020 school year.

I’m very excited for Grace and Carol to be receiving the player of the year award as a doubles team. Together, they were a top-16 team in CIF Southern Section this year and were also excellent Co-Captains of our team at Cate. 

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Thorpe Tennis Coronavirus Update

In the week since my last post, much has changed, especially as California leads the country towards “stay at home” policy. I had four predictions about Coronavirus and it’s impact last week, which all still appear to be spot-on, but there are a few new things to address.

The stay at home request from Governor Newsom means I’ll be moving to on-court tennis hiatus for the next four weeks (at least). Some of you have asked what that’s going to be like for me, as someone who is not salaried, gets paid by the hour, and isn’t eligible for unemployment benefits.

As most of you know, my business cycle is typically 30-50 days on/5-15 days off. I have already worked 71 of the first 80 days of the year and had planned to be in Europe for part of this upcoming period. While I might go a little stir crazy and I know that I’ll miss my students greatly, Thorpe Tennis is in a great position to weather this storm.

There are many other local businesses that are not in a similar position, as well as many employees of those businesses that must be very concerned about the immediate future. It’s my belief that while the government can play a part in maintaining some basic safety nets, the very best way to have a better society is to be a good neighbor (and yes, I definitely watched Mr. Rogers as a kid).

To that end, I’m buying up gift cards at all my favorite local businesses and tipping a little extra for that delivery meal. As our government discusses how to implement no/low-cost small business loans, consider that those of us with the resources can provide the same thing directly to the businesses that bring us joy through good times and bad.

If I had to guess, I’d say tennis will probably not resume until about May 1, at which point I think we’ll all be ready to quickly make up for lost time. If we take this moment to consider what a valuable part of life getting to share the game of tennis with each other is, hopefully we can build a tidal wave of enthusiasm to have a great summer season.

In the meantime, I will not be idle. I’ll be working on new drills and lesson ideas as well as studying and perhaps sharing a significant backlog of videos recorded over the years. Expect a post or two here, with some tips and concepts to consider for when you are finally able to pick up the racquets again.

Stay safe and stay sane Thorpe Tennis Community!

-Trevor

Finding Normalcy in Times of Chaos or How to Make a Positive out of Anything :)

As I look back on the last few years living in Santa Barbara, it seems like there’s an almost annual winter calamity that disrupts the peace in this beautiful place. Years of drought, then the fires, then the mudslide, and now we are being tested again.

I won’t get into how I feel about COVID-19, other than to say these four things: 1) I believe it will spread much more widely, 2) I don’t think it’s as mortally dangerous as the media churn is making us feel, 3) I do feel it’s important to take precautions to protect those with serious pre-existing medical conditions and the elderly, 4) I think the global economic impact, particularly in places like Venezuela where oil is food and things are already desperate, will likely kill more people than the virus itself.

What I want to talk about is not Coronavirus specifically, but a broader philosophy that gives me comfort in these times of chaos. It’s my hope that sharing some of my deeply held personal beliefs might help others and that’s something to which I have dedicated myself.

Many of you know I’m into doing things like 200-mile, single-day bike rides and multi-day treks through the Andes and all sorts of other madness. When some poor, unsuspecting soul asks me what I did over the weekend, they often find themselves in pain just thinking about what I tell them.

What you might not all know is the reason I pursue these sorts of activities. While it’s clear that you need physical strength to complete those sorts of tasks and I enjoy that kind of proficiency, what I’m chasing is mostly mental/spiritual.

I believe we as humans are better when we are tested. There is a clarity that comes with confronting uncertainty, a fog that lifts when you face a challenge where the outcome isn’t a given. In all phases of life (school, work, relationships), we progress through grappling with difficulties and persevering against obstacles. A life without challenge is a recipe for mediocrity and that’s part of what makes learning and competing in tennis such a beneficial tool for life.

Once you accept that each obstacle is actually an opportunity to progress, you have a distinct advantage that nothing and no one can take from you. You can be positive when others despair and you can be ready to lead when others are fearful.

Those who have spent time on-court with me should be familiar with the concept of reframing; you cannot lose when you set the conditions for success. You cannot be negative when you know that every thoughtful interaction, whether painful or joyous, yields a knowledge that will serve you in the future. My message to you all is to embrace the uncertainty and let it galvanize your inner strength.

Now, here is what I intend to do during this time of chaos: once this rain passes, I will continue to teach. I know many of my young students will be anxious and probably more than a little stir-crazy after the first few days away from school (even the most dedicated teenager cannot play video games or pursue social media perfection forever!). I know that many of my adult students will be looking for an outlet as well. I know that in this time of social distancing, we do still need to interact. I know that in this unusual time, we need some normalcy and tennis is just the thing!

I intend to do my private lessons as usual, as well as Sunday Sessions and the Mini-Camp that is scheduled for the first week of April. Despite there being no cases of Coronavirus in Santa Barbara County at this time, I will be keeping an eye on group sizes and will ask that anyone feeling sick please sit out until COVID-19 can be ruled out. We’re also going to be washing our hands a lot!

So join me in taking proper precautions, but continuing to live this life in a productive and positive way. We’ll get through this, Thorpe Tennis Community! Keep calm, carry on.

Trevor

Owls Move to 2-0 with 15-3 Road Win

Laguna Blanca made it two-for-two in early-season matches, taking a 15-3 victory over Cabrillo High School in Lompoc today.

The win was bolstered by three 6-0 sets from Ryan Purkait at the #2 singles position. Purkait, a junior who spent the majority of the last two seasons at #1 doubles, is now 6-0 on the season as a singles player.

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