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High School Sports

Season Interrupted: Mike Thomas discovers a teaching moment

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Throughout the spring, The Times will interview high school seniors whose athletic careers were cut short by the coronavirus outbreak.

Name: Mike Thomas

School: Studio City Harvard-Westlake

Sport: Tennis

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Key stats: Doubles player for the No. 1 team in Southern Section Division 1 and probably No. 1 team in the nation.

Fall plans: Will attend Colgate.

On season being canceled while team was ranked No. 1:
“We had six seniors start as freshmen on varsity, grew up as players, becoming especially close as friends, and just to see it taken away in a blink of an eye was frustrating and sad, especially because of our goal this year of being best in the country. The night [the season] got canceled, I called my coach and thanked him and started crying. The emotion came out.”

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On his decision to study education at Colgate:
“Last summer I had no plans of getting a job. My dad heard of an opportunity to teach summer school at my old elementary school. Within a day, I fell in love with the idea of teaching. I had 20 kids that were my responsibility from 8 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon. I fell in love and that’s what I want to do.”

What he misses most:
“As a tennis player, you spend seven, eight months playing in individual tournaments. The school season is when you get to be part of a team. I miss being part of a team.”

Creative things he’s doing with his free time:
“I’ve been around my brothers a lot. I’ve been adopting their habits. One is designing clothes. I’ve tried to mimic that and I’m reading more. It’s very rewarding.”

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Video interviews of each athlete can be found at latimes.com/sports/highschool.


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