NEWPORT BEACH — It has been a long journey in high school tennis for Corona del Mar High senior Alec Adamson.
His game has grown exponentially over the years, as his height shot up too. At 6-foot-4, he stands out in a crowd.
Among high school tennis players in Orange County, Southern California and even the country, Adamson also stands out.
He was one of four high school seniors honored Monday night at Newport Beach Yacht Club, at the Southern California National High School Tennis All-American awards banquet.
Adamson is a high school All-American, one of four from Southern California. He's the first from the CdM boys' program since Fabian Matthews in 2008.
"There's so many great high school players all over the country," Adamson said. "To be part of the top 40, it's just a great accomplishment I think. And with all of the other great All-Americans like [former pro] Taylor Dent from CdM, it's just such an honor to be part of that group."
Eighty total boys and girls nationally were honored as 2013 All-Americans by the National High School Tennis All-American Foundation, of which former CdM Coach Tim Mang is the executive director. Nine of them were from Southern California.
The UC Davis-bound Adamson is plenty familiar with the other three boys, as all of them go to rival University High. UCLA-bound Gage Brymer, Yale-bound Tyler Lu and Pepperdine-bound Stefan Menichella were also honored; Brymer earned the Southern California MVP award for the second straight year.
Dana Hills' Alyssa Smith (Duke), Zoe Katz of Campbell Hall (USC), Mayci Jones of Tesoro (BYU), Dorothy Tang of San Marino (Princeton) and Monica Robinson of Fallbrook (Notre Dame) were the Southern California girls' All-Americans honored. Smith earned Southern California MVP honors.
Adamson was joined by his parents, Michael and Mindy, as well as CdM Coach Jamie Gresh and his personal coach Kareem Gobran. Gresh told the attendees that it has been a joy coaching Adamson.
"It's my first year at CdM, and I was kind of blessed to have Alec be my team captain, a team leader," Gresh said. "[He] never missed a practice and really committed himself to the team. He showed great leadership to all the younger kids, and I really value that ... I couldn't be happier with Alec's success on the court and his accomplishments."
There were other fun moments at the banquet. Former San Marino High and USC standout Andrew Park, who was a three-time CIF Individuals finalist and captured the singles title in 1998, was in attendance and received a special award. And Mang talked about a special tournament he would like to put together with his friend Ken Stuart, the owner of the Palisades Tennis Club.
"We'd like to have the All-Americans challenge the top six players from Palisades Tennis Club," Mang said.
The format would be similar to the National High School All-American Tournament, with singles and doubles, but doubles teams could include men's, women's and mixed.
With all of the high school players having busy schedules over the next few weeks, it was unclear when the tournament might take place. But what was clear was that, for all of the tennis talent in the room, it meant a great deal to play high school tennis.
On Thursday, Brymer will begin his quest for a third straight CIF Individuals singles title. It's only been accomplished twice before, by Allen Cleveland (1949-51) and Jackie Douglas ('52-54) of Santa Monica.
Campbell Hall Coach Steve Kuechel perhaps said it best at the banquet.
"I think it's so important that you guys are playing high school tennis," Kuechel said. "You guys are great ambassadors for other kids in the future."