Woodbridge junior Chase Exon, who helped lead the Warriors to the Southern Section Division I boys’ tennis title last year, will not play high school tennis this season after he was unable to work out a disagreement over practice time with Woodbridge Coach Joan Willett.
Exon, ranked fifth in Southern California in the boys’ 16s, told Willett on Friday he needed to be excused from high school practice an hour early three days a week to train with his private coaches, Syd Ball, Mark Kaplan and Chris Ganz. But Willett said she would not make any exceptions for Exon.
“High school tennis is a team sport and there has to be a total commitment from all of the players,” Willett said. “We just couldn’t meet a middle ground. I have to stick by my principles.”
Exon said he was “disappointed and shocked” that Willett would not budge from her position.
“I really kind of view it as though she kicked me off the team,” Exon said. “I was really looking forward to this season. I really don’t understand her reasoning at all. I didn’t figure she’d have a problem with one hour, three days a week.”
Exon said the upcoming junior tennis season is important to his career.
“This year is so big in terms of my rankings and earning a college scholarship,” he said. “I really need to work hard with my private coaches on getting up to that next level.”
Exon said he still leaves behind a pretty good team.
“I’d put my money on Woodbridge to win the CIF,” he said.