Boys tennis wins D1 CIFs

Jayden Xia, Staff Writer

Jason (12) practices his volleys in the off season, May 12. Boys tennis won the D1 CIF Championships against Cathedral Catholic, 10-1. Photo by Jayden Xia.


If everything goes right, they could win it all right now. Doubles partners Matthew Pham (12) and Alex Do are facing Cathedral Catholic High School—they’re one point from winning the game, one game from winning the entire match.  Pham rips a spiraling serve as Do (12) moves in toward the net. Pham and his opponent trade powerful groundstrokes until his opponent makes the fatal mistake of hitting the ball just a little too softly. Do pounces on this opportunity, crossing to the other side of the court and deftly ending the point with a quick volley.

Boys tennis captured the CIF Division I title, May 12, with a 10-1 win against Cathedral Catholic High School. The win was especially impactful given the team’s inability to compete in the past two seasons.

“Winning CIFs was unbelievable, and I think a lot of it was because, in my freshman year, we went into semis, sophomore year we didn’t have a season, and last year was co-ed,” Jason Hu (12) said. “This was our first opportunity to win since freshman year.”

For Aakarsh Vermani (12), the season win was the perfect way to end the current chapter of his tennis career.

“It’s almost poetic that we won CIFs in our senior year,” Vermani said. “It was definitely a really great feeling to leave it on a high note, especially since tennis has been such a big part of my life since I was 6. I was a little bit disappointed with how most of my high school career went because of COVID wiping out nearly two seasons and my struggles with injuries, but I think finishing by winning CIFs was an amazing feeling.”

Of the entire season, the most memorable for Vermani was the CIF finals match against Cathedral Catholic High School.

“We were up 9-1 and since there are 18 games played per match, as soon as you win that 10th game you basically win the meet,” Vermani said. “There was only one match going on at that point which was a double match with Matthew and Alex. At that last point, we all crowded around the court watching them. After they won that final point, we stormed the court and went absolutely crazy, which was just a really cool moment.”

While the team was riding the high directly after the match, the stress from the day quickly caught up to them and they spent the rest of the night unwinding.

“Everyone was just really relaxed,” Hu said. “We were just making jokes and went to Lucha Libre to have dinner, then got some ice cream after.”

While the team in past years functioned with a traditional captain structure, this year the boys tennis coach decided to switch things up.

“We basically distributed captain privileges to all the seniors and we kind of all worked together,” Vermani said. “However, the other four seniors and I who have a lot of prior experience not just in high school tennis but also competitive tournaments and whatnot have kind of taken on a mentor role for the team.”

By being a mentor, Vermani was able to pass on the valuable lessons he had learned in his 12-year tennis career to younger players.

“Newer players are a little bit inexperienced in regards to what to expect in a match,” Vermani said. “There are a lot of things you can only learn through experience, like dealing with emotions, strategy, all that kind of thing that you really only get through experience in playing competitive matches. The coach can help with that, but I think sometimes it’s more impactful coming from another peer, who’s more on your level and can provide more personal advice.”

Mentoring has also helped Vermani to understand the legacy that he wishes to leave behind at Westview.

“For the longest time, I thought I wanted to just be remembered as a good player, which is something I struggled with because I wasn’t a great player for most of my high school career,” Vermani said. “But now as I look back on it, I think I would just want to be remembered as being a part of this team that had such a good time. When I think back about the teammates that have impacted me the most, with the most team spirit, who are the kindest to me, and who gave me the best words of encouragement, not the players that played the best.”