Tennis Team Doubles Down in Hunt for CIF Title
A home loss to Sage Hill last Monday did little to tarnish a memorable season for the Laguna Beach High School boys’ tennis team. Its 15-3 overall record is the best under fourth-year coach Don Davis. The team, ranked first in Division 4, open post-season play at home against a to be determined opponent on Wednesday, May 13.
With three freshmen, three sophomores and six juniors on the roster, Davis had to get creative with his line up to find just the right mix of youth and experience. “We don’t have the seniors to look up to, so it’s a young team that’s really had to mature on their own, so to speak,” he said. “But our guys are versatile. They’ve all done real well.”
The strength of the Breakers lies in their doubles play. And the top doubles team Ryan Gee and Hayden Seitz set the standard. They played together 13 times in 18 matches, racking up a 36-3 set record. “Our doubles have been real strong for us,” said Davis.
In the five matches they didn’t play together, Seitz went 15-0, partnering with Gee’s younger brother Ethan or Clayton Haines. Gee went 6-0 in two matches as a singles player. He missed the other three matches, exchanging his racket for a bag of clubs to help the Breakers golf team win its first league title in four years.
As good a tennis player as Gee is, his first love was golf, which he took up when he was 7. By the time he was in seventh grade, he was playing tournaments and improving, but had difficulty controlling his emotions on the course. “I was kind of banned from golf by my parents,” he admitted.
An athlete in search of a sport, Gee followed his older brother into tennis. “Tennis is a different animal for me,” he said. And Gee did it well enough to make varsity as a freshman.
Now a junior, Gee saw an opportunity to return to his first love and help the golf team win a league title this season. So for two months after school, with the support of Davis and golf Coach Scott Finn, Gee was either on the court or on the course.
As the defending league champ in singles, Gee was committed to tennis. So when the schedules of the two sports overlapped, which they did on nine occasions, Gee played tennis six times and golf three.
The three tennis matches he missed were all against league opponents, which the Breakers won easily. On the other hand, the golf team might not have finished 12-3 overall and 9-0 in league without Gee’s help. “[Gee’s] been playing some really pivotal matches for us and been putting up some good scores,” said Finn.
The sport that once drove him to fits “became a stress reliever” for Gee this season when he began to feel the pressure of CIF expectations for the top-ranked tennis team. “I like [golf] a lot more than in my tournament days,” he said.
Behind the doubles play of juniors Gee, Seitz, and Haines, and sophomores Zack Washer and Tristan Krogius, as well as freshman singles player Charles Keller, the Breakers have a good shot of getting to CIF finals, where they will most likely meet second-ranked Redlands.