Faces Change, Net Results Are Same for Pierce at Tennis Final

Share via

Pierce College won its 10th consecutive Metropolitan Conference men’s tennis championship Friday by defeating Long Beach, 34-14, at home.

In the process, Pierce qualified five singles players and three doubles teams for the Southern California Regional community college championship May 8-10 at Riverside.

“This came sort of unexpected this year,” said Paul Xanthos, Pierce’s coach for the past 21 years. “At the beginning of the year I expected maybe third place. We had lost all of our players.”


Obviously, somebody knows how to recruit talent. “I’m very pleased at this group of young men this year,” Xanthos said. “It’s one of my most satisfying championships.”

In the singles final, Pierce’s Nadir Fararji beat teammate Steve Yu, 6-3, 3-1. Yu retired after experiencing a minor injury.

Also qualifying for Pierce were singles players Nelson Gary, Doug Merrill and Alex Olaya.

The surprise of the three-day championship came in doubles competition, won by Pierce’s No. 4 team. Olaya teamed with Dave Valastro for a 6-3, 6-3 win over Richard Barnhardt and Al Planes from Pasadena. Fararji and Yu also qualified as a doubles team, as did Merrill and David Garelick.

Pierce will meet Saddleback in a match at the Linborg Racquet Club in Huntington Beach on Monday. Xanthos hopes it will bring the Brahmas one step closer to their first state championship.

“We’ve never won a state championship at Pierce, because we’ve never been able to compete with those teams up north,” Xanthos said. “I think we have a chance. The players are excited and the players think we can win. And that’s fine with me.”