Jeff TullyIt’s been nearly 16 years since...

Jeff Tully

It’s been nearly 16 years since the Burroughs High boys’ tennis team

defeated cross-town rival Burbank.

Through the years, the Bulldogs have been a dominating force not


only in the city, but in the Foothill League and the CIF Southern


Is this the season the Indians can break the streak?

“I know Burroughs has some pretty good returning players,” Burbank


Coach Paul McNiff said. “They will probably win more matches than

they did last year.

“But I think we should have a good team. We are looking to try and

get the Foothill League title back.

Here is a look at how the season is shaping up:


The No. 1 priority for the Bulldogs is reclaiming the league

championship they failed to win in 2002 for the first time in 15



McNiff said he is not only dedicated to helping his team get back

the title, but his players are also focused on winning the


“Us older players know the significance of getting the league

title back, and we take it personally,” Burbank senior James Chang

said. “We just have to teach the younger players, who haven’t been a

part of the streak, how important it is to us and the school.


“We want to not only win league, but we want to go undefeated at


Last season, Burbank (10-8) finished third in league behind

champion Valencia and second-place Hart.

Although the Bulldogs lost some key players, they should still

have a talented core of athletes to contend for a title.

Leading the way will be singles Hovsep Gasamanian and Haig

Kassabian, who will be the top two players. Both are junior ranked

players who have played a lot of tennis during the offseason.

Players Chang, David Chung, Varuzhan Sarkisyan, Chris Lee, Alex

Dawoodian and Ted Kang will round out the rest of the singles and

doubles corps.

“Varuzhan is interesting because he is a junior who was 28-2 last

year on the [junior-varsity] team,” McNiff said. “So we expect good

things from him.”

McNiff said although Valencia appears to be the team to beat in

league, he isn’t about to take any squad lightly.

“We just can’t look past anyone, look what happened last year,” he

said. “All our league matches will be important.”

The Bulldogs open nonleague play with contests against ranked

teams L.A. Loyola. Hoover and Calabasas.


The Indians finished in a tie for third place in league last

season and lost a coin flip to Canyon, bumping them from the


With a good group of returners, Coach Roy Bernhardt said he thinks

his team will be able to make it to the postseason.

“I think we can get one of the top three spots,” said Bernhardt,

whose team was 4-6 in league. “But I still think Valencia should be

the top team.

“I hope we don’t have injuries.”

Burroughs will likely be strong in singles, with Fong Lam, Andreas

Lamelas and Wilson Tseng all returning. Tseng was half of an Indian

doubles team that placed third in league in 2002.

In doubles, Nate Brandt and Hamlet Karapetyan will head a group

still vying for spots.

“Hamlet is a freshman who has been playing since he was 6,”

Bernhardt said. “He is very good and he has a lot of talent.”