GLENDALE — As pleasant surprises go, both the Glendale High and Flintridge Prep boys’ tennis teams had some on display Friday in the CIF Individuals Tournament.
Glendale’s duo of Jeff Asano and Elliott Kim, which had upset its own teammates to notch a spot in the tournament, advanced to the second round Friday at Carpinteria High before running up against the No. 2 seed of Evan Teufel and Spencer Simon.
For Flintridge Prep, which had its best season in decades, an added bonus was advancing the teams of Kent Byun and Eric Kazangian and Jonathan Kim and John Lee to the individuals.
Lee and Kim fell in the opening round, but Byun and Kazangian made it to the second round before their day was concluded at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center in South El Monte.
“Just to see the best players, just to be a part of that and see what level they need to be at and play at [is invaluable],” said Rebels first-year Coach Ron Catano, who piloted the Rebels to a share of the Prep League title.
Kim and Lee lost in the opening round to a team from Troy, 6-1, 6-4.
Kazangian and Byun bested an Ontario squad, 6-2, 6-1.
“They just were a better team,” said Catano of Byun and Kazangian, the Prep League’s No. 1 entry — there is no Prep League individual tournament, so draws are determined by league record, “and they just played well.”
In the second round, though, Byun and Kazangian ran into a formidable Diamond Bar squad that emerged with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
“I have not seen a team all year that played like that,” Catano said. “They were just unbelievable.”
Santa Barbara’s duo of Spencer Simon and Evan Teufel was much the same against Kim and Asano, winning, 6-0, 6-0.
“Man, they were good,” Glendale Coach Bob Davidson said of Teufel and Simon.
Asano and Kim beat a squad from St. Joseph’s, 6-2, 6-4, in the opening round, building a 5-2 lead in the second set before holding on to secure the win.
“I thought they played really well. They were aggressive and did the things that made them a good team this year — they were consistent and aggressive,” Davidson said.
While all of Prep’s success came as a surprise considering program history, most expected a Nitros team to be in the CIF tournament, as one had been the previous two seasons. But that was Mike Astorian and Nick Daka. However, Asano and Kim pulled off an upset against their teammates in the Pacific League semifinals that sent them to CIF.
“Obviously they accomplished a lot to get there,” Davidson said. “I was definitely surprised they beat Mike and Nick. Honestly, that was a big upset.”
Nonetheless, after Asano and Kim’s ascension to the second round, a Glendale duo has now accomplished that feat three straight years.
“That’s something they can be very proud of,” Davidson said. “They had a great year.”