Locals will be challenged at 'The Ojai'

Sage Hill School senior Robbe Simon and Corona del Mar junior Alec Adamson are locals who are aiming for a CIF singles division title at the prestigious 112th annual Ojai Valley Tournament, which begins Thursday.

Adamson opens his tournament in the round of 64 Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at The Thacher School of Ojai, against Dominic Gareri of Point Loma. He could meet top-seeded Gage Brymer of University, the defending CIF division champion, in a quarterfinal Friday. Adamson and Brymer had a close set in the teams' league match on Tuesday, with Brymer rallying for a 6-4 victory.

But first things first. CdM Coach Brian Ricker said Adamson's first-round match isn't easy. Gareri is a four-star recruit according to tennisrecruiting.net; Adamson currently is a three-star recruit.

"The goal up here is one round at a time," Ricker said of "The Ojai," which is North America's largest amateur tennis tournament. "Ojai singles, everyone is good."

Simon, a senior bound for Stanford on academics, opens his tournament at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at The Thacher School against William Halsted of Thacher. If Simon wins his first round he could face league opponent Ruthwick Pathireddy of Whitney later on Thursday. Simon defeated Pathireddy, 6-4, in the teams' league match Tuesday.

Simon, who lost his first match at Ojai last year, said he always appreciates playing in the tournament.

"I want to have a strong showing and represent Sage well out there," Simon said. "The coolest thing about it is that Ojai, that town, they really welcome you for the three or four days you're there … I remember going to some sandwich shop and the Stanford team walked in. [I was] in complete awe. It's just this awesome, electric tennis atmosphere."

Two local doubles teams also are in action in the CIF doubles draw. CdM seniors Alex Murray and Zach Williams open in the round of 64 against David Rodriguez and Nolan Schuler of Bakersfield Christian, at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at The Thacher School. Sage Hill's team of Alex Manolakas and Eric Magliarditi open against Alexander Yee and Nick Sweetman of Newbury Park, also at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Villanova School of Ojai.

Ricker said Murray and Williams are 20-1 as a team this season. They have a goal of making it to Saturday, which would mean at least the semifinals.

Manolakas has experience in Ojai; last year he and Andrew Kurzweil got to the third round of the CIF doubles division.

Several locals are also competing in other divisions of the tournament. CdM freshman Chaz Downing is the No. 3 seed in boys' 14 singles, a draw that also includes Newport Beach resident Bjorn Hoffmann.

Fellow CdM freshman Henry Gordon is a No. 9 seed in boys' 16 singles. That draw also includes Newport Coast resident Max Pham, who is another No. 9 seed, along with CdM freshman Tyler Gaede and Newport Harbor freshman Reese Stalder.

Stalder, who has a 35-7 overall singles record for the Sailors, has helped lead them back into the CIF playoffs after they didn't qualify last year.

Newport Beach resident Mazy Watrous is the No. 6 seed in girls' 18 singles, and Newport Coast resident Jenna Moustafa is the No. 6 seed in girls' 14 singles. The girls' 16 singles draw features CdM's Olivia Laws.

Locals will also be competing in the community college draws. Orange Coast's Rex Miller, Andrew Pham and Pat Wright are competing in men's singles. The doubles teams of No. 10-seeded Miller and Wright, as well as Matt Lee and Chad Meyer, represent the Pirates in the doubles draw.

Madelyn Koehly, Krystal Hernandez and Nory Call are in the women's singles draw for OCC. The doubles teams of Koehly and Haley Moss, as well as Call and Hernandez, also will be in action.

The tournament is also the host for thePac-12men's tennis championships. There are also men's and women's open singles and doubles divisions, which carry a combined $20,000 purse. Former BYU standout Thomas Shubert, a Newport Beach resident, is in the men's singles and doubles divisions.


Twitter: @mjszabo

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