LACES Untied

LACES Untied

LACES Untied

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LACES Boys Tennis Wins CIF Division 1 Championship

Senior+doubles+player+Linus+Allen-Auerbach+carries+sophomore+doubles+player+Kota+Shukuya+after+him+and+sophomore+Alessandro+Robino+won+the+final+match+of+the+day.
Philip Chung
Senior doubles player Linus Allen-Auerbach carries sophomore doubles player Kota Shukuya after him and sophomore Alessandro Robino won the final match of the day.

LACES Boys Tennis emerged champions 17-12.5 over Taft High School in the CIF Division I Final at the Balboa Sports Complex. The decisive victory was far from guaranteed.  Sophomore and singles player James Fonclaud winning his final match of one set 6-4 gave LACES the required points to win the playoff match. He had one thing to say after being mobbed by his teammates rushing the court.

“I feel good,” said Fonclaud. “I feel really proud of [this team] and what we’ve done. We’re the ninth seed and we came all this way.”

After three hours of competitive tennis matches, the outcome rested upon the final two matches, with LACES only needing to win one of the two. 

“James came and talked to me and said, ‘I don’t want to play this match. I’m so tired,’” said LACES Boys Tennis Coach Philip Chung. “He was having trouble running, basically jogging back and forth, but he managed to pull off enough shots to win.”

LACES’s victory was also dependent on several upsets as well. Singles player sophomore Vander Delman managed to make a comeback from 5-1 to 6-6 before winning in a tiebreaker, with doubles players sophomores Alessandro Robino and Kota Shukuya achieving the same in the final match of the day.

“[When I was down], I was like brothers, this is not good,” said Delman. “I really don’t think he was beating me – I was kind of beating myself. I thought, “Lock in,’ and I did.”

Despite putting in an ardent effort, especially their singles 1 who won all four of his matches, Taft came up short.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect LACES to be in the finals, so when [LACES] made it I knew we’d be in for a treat,” said Taft tennis coach Allan Valerio. “I saw [LACES was] in 9th seed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much in our division.”

Following the victory, Chung had a final message for the team as their season came to a close.

“Especially for my seniors, in the three years I’ve been at LACES, you’ve been with me this whole time,” said Chung. “I’ve seen you guys grow up from annoying kids to grown kids and it’s been a wonderful journey along the way. It is my pleasure to welcome you in not just as my graduates and now my fellow peers, but also as fellow Division I Champions.”

This is the second championship LACES Tennis has won in the 2023-24 school year. In the fall, LACES Girls Tennis won the CIF Division 2 Championship.

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About the Contributor
Ravi Gadasally
Ravi Gadasally, Editor-in-Chief
Ravi Gadasally has been a dedicated member of the LACES Journalism staff for over three years, having written over twenty articles which have been published and previously serving as News page editor. As editor-in-chief this year, Gadasally looks forward to publishing high quality content for the LACES community. On a side note, he believes "Revenge of the Sith" is the best "Star Wars" movie.
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