Coach Larry Lambert isn’t overconfident, he’s just realistic.
With a talented 12-and-under youth boys’ team from the Burbank
Tennis Center, the coach thinks his players have enough talent to
play -- and win -- against the best Southern California has to offer.
Today and Sunday, the Burbank team will take on youth squads from
Orange County, Ventura, the Inland Empire and the San Diego area in
the Southern California Tennis Assn. Championships at UCLA.
The team includes players from Burbank and Glendale.
If the local team does well in the six-member team-tennis format
event today at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, it will earn a
spot in Sunday’s final at the center-court stadium at Los Angeles
Tennis Center on the UCLA campus.
“We made it to the event last season, but we had a player who
couldn’t make it to the event and we had to default 24 points,”
Lambert said. “But even with all those defaults, we still came within
two points of winning the championship.
“This year, we have a better team and a lot of talented players. I
think we can win it this year.”
In the round-robin event that features singles and doubles sets,
the Burbank teams are assured of at least three matches. The
12-and-under tournament is one of many separate age-group
competitions taking part throughout the weekend.
“We come into the tournament after winning the San Fernando Valley
League with a 10-0 record,” Lambert said. “And we beat some very good
teams in our league, like teams from the Braemer Country Club in
Tarzana, from Toluca Lake and from La Canada Flintridge.
Burbank’s best player is 8-year-old Garrett Auproux, who Lambert
said has been impressive, even against older players.
“Garrett could beat all the [junior varsity] players on the
Burbank boys’ tennis team right now, he’s that good,” Lambert said.
“He has a very good game and he is mature for an 8-year-old.”
The team also features Burbank residents Roger Ham, 12, Tommy
Handy, 12, and Justin Sinclair, 10, and Glendale residents John
Kazanjian, 10, and Eric Kazangian, 11. Tres Preissman, 12, and
Jefferson Nolan, 10, round out the squad.
“This is the last year that Roger and Tommy are playing for us, so
we really want to win the championship for them,” Lambert said. “With
our talent, we should do it.”