By Zach Cavanagh
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San Juan Hills Boys Tennis Wins First CIF-SS Title
For the underdog to take the title, it requires belief, energy and all the right moves to exploit a match-up to its advantage. The San Juan Hills boys tennis team found all of that to earn its first crown.
The Stallions upset No. 1 seed Orange Lutheran in the quarterfinals and No. 2 seed Mater Dei in the CIF-SS Final, the first title match in program history, to capture the Division 3 championship on May 10 at the Claremont Club.
— Stallion Athletics (@sjhhsathletics) May 11, 2019
Throughout the season, San Juan Hills had relied on its top three singles players to deliver victories. Julien Sanseverino, Spencer Cinco and Chris O’Farrill were a strong at the top for the Stallions to carry the struggling doubles teams.
Going into the playoffs, San Juan Hills coach Bruce Sanborn knew he needed to make a change for the Stallions to finally succeed at the next level.
“We needed to get everyone involved, change the negativity in doubles, boost the confidence by getting encouragement from everyone,” Sanborn said. “Once everyone is contributing, then it will be fun again, and hopefully then they can motivate each other.”
Sanseverino and Cinco went down to doubles and partnered with the No. 2 doubles team. The players of the No. 3 doubles team moved to singles. This line-up gave Sanborn two options depending on the opponent.
In the semifinals against Redlands East Valley, the new line-up excelled as the Stallions maneuvered around Redlands’ doubles teams and No. 1 singles player. Redlands won six points in the singles, but San Juan Hills took 10 of the other 12 points for the win.
In the Division 3 Final, Sanborn pulled one more string and moved the rotation order to hopefully gain one last edge over Mater Dei.
It worked according to plan. San Juan Hills led 4-2 after the first round, but Mater Dei evened the match, 6-6, after the second round. The third round continued to an 8-8 tie with the last two matches to decide the title.
Sanseverino and Scott Cole pulled out a rally to take a 7-6 tiebreaker to earn the overall game count lead in the match, and John Lyon, San Juan Hills’ No. 8 player, clinched his last singles match for the 10-8 San Juan Hills victory and CIF-SS title.
CIF-SS Track and Field Championships
- San Juan Hills’ Sean Rhyan won the Division 1 shotput title with a throw of 59 feet, 5 inches on May 11. Rhyan finished second at the CIF-SS Masters with a throw of 61 feet, 10.75 inches to qualify for State on Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25.
- JSerra’s Peter Herold won Division 3 titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Herold ran a personal-record time of 4:10.52 in the 1,600. Herold also won the Masters title in the 1,600 and finished third in the 3,200 to qualify for State in both events. Teammate Anthony Grover also qualified for State in the 1,600.
- St. Margaret’s Nathan Soto won the Division 5 pole vault title with a personal-record clear of 14 feet.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports.