The Burroughs High boys' tennis team will win the Pacific League championship this season.
That’s not a promise that Indians Coach Roy Bernhardt made. Instead, the statement was made by cross-town rival Burbank Coach Loi Phan.
“Burroughs is going to run away with the league,” Phan said. “Burroughs is loaded. No one is going to touch them. We can’t beat them. Forget it. Their list [of standout players] goes on and on and on.”
Even opposing coaches have the same sentiment.
“Burroughs is in a class by themselves,” Glendale Coach Bob Davidson said about the league this season.
The list for the Indians starts with two-time All-Area Singles Player of the Year, Garrett Auproux.
The senior has won two straight league individual titles and advanced to the semifinals of the challenging CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament last season. In addition, Auproux helped pace the Indians to the Division II playoff semifinals in 2012, the second consecutive year the Indians reached the final four in the division.
“He’s looking really good,” Bernhardt said of Auproux, ranked 60th in the United States Tennis Assn. boys’ 18-and-under rankings. “He’s really improved.”
The Indians will be a tougher division this year. They’ve been moved up to Division I, and Bernhardt expects a challenging road in his team’s quest to duplicate last year’s efforts.
“Everybody seems to tell us we’re not going to do as well because we’re in Division I,” Bernhardt said. “I still have high expectations, though.”
Bernhardt has plenty of players to rely on.
Behind Auproux will be junior singles player Calvin Fox, who finished second in the league individual tournament and advanced to the CIF Individuals. Sophomore Sawyer Patterson will also see time in singles.
The Indians will also have strength in doubles, led by Kevin Hoang, a senior who paired with 2012 graduate Phillip Lam to secure the league title in doubles and post a 45-5 record. The Indians’ doubles team of Zach Maina and Jacob Kim will also return from last year’s team.
“We’re looking good,” Bernhardt said. “It’s very flattering what [Phan] said, but I thought we were going to do a lot the last two years in league, and we didn’t win league.”
While its coach admitted that it can’t compete with Burroughs and Arcadia for the top two spots in league, Burbank is still looking to compete for a playoff spot. Phan said his team will battle Crescenta Valley and Glendale for the third- and fourth-place slots — in addition to the final two automatic playoff berths — in league.
“We’re probably going to compete for that fourth spot,” Phan said. “It’s very competitive [for that third and fourth spot]. Our goal is to make it to the playoffs. A point here and there will determine the fourth spot.”
Phan will rely on a pair of seniors — Keon Woo Park in doubles and Clayton Pauff in singles — to carry his team to the postseason. Phan is also confident in the abilities of Kevin Orellana, a freshman who “has a lot of potential.”
Said Phan: “We have to get our doubles going, and we have some pretty good singles players.”