For the first time in school history, the Cerritos College men's tennis team won the CCCAA Team Dual State Championship. Competing at Ventura College on Wednesday, the Falcons (28-2) defeated Nothern California #1-seed American River College, 5-0. It was the second time this season Cerritos defeated the Beavers. The Falcons finished the season winning their last 12 matches, with nine of them shutouts. They shut out all five of their playoff opponents.
First-year head coach Quinn Caldaron took the state title in stride. "I was the beneficiary of a great group of players when I was hired right before the start of the season," said Caldaron. "They were very welcoming of me and we immediately worked well together. It's a great group of kids and a lot of the credit goes to the former coach (Alvin Kim), who brought these players in and made me look good."
Starting with doubles, the Falcons took big leads in each of the matches to open up a 3-0 team score lead. At the top of the doubles ladder, freshmen Kent Hunter (Home Schooled) and Victor Castro (Novo Hamburgo, Brazil) broke a 1-1 tie by winning the next five games for a commanding 6-1 lead then resulted in an 8-3 victory. It was the same for freshman Alex Prokopchuk (School 45, Ukraine) and sophomore Marcos Paulo Silvestre (Colégio Tiradentes of PMMG, Brazil), who turned a slim 3-2 lead into an 8-2 win after taking the next five games.
It became a clean sweep when freshman Dario Rico-Altozano (Colegio Cumbre, Spain) and sophomore Kwangeun Lee (Sunny Hills HS) also tuned a 1-1 match into a 5-1 lead on their way to an 8-3 victory.
The match was locked down after a pair of straight set wins by Hunter (6-2, 6-2) in the #1 position and Rico-Altozano (6-2, 6-4), who played in the #5 spot. The Falcons won the first set in all six singles matches, as they concluded their dual meet season with a 28-2 record.
"The plan was established early in the season with this group," added Caldaron. "With us winning our matches fairly easily at times this season, the biggest obstacle was to keep the players motivated. But they work hard and pushed each other in practice, which continually made us a better team. Most of our talks this season were about motivation and remaining focused."
Kent Hunter/Victor Castro (Cerr) def. Mikey Vizcarra/Sam Hall (ARC), 8-3
Alex Prokopchuk/Marcos Paulo Silvestre (Cerr) def. Paul Bhatia/Pete Gibson (ARC), 8-2
Dario Rico-Altozano/Kwangeun Lee (Cerr) def. Andres Anderson/Robert Kendall (ARC), 8-3
Kent Hunter (Cerr) def. Paul Bhatia (ARC), 6-2, 6-2
Victor Castro (Cerr) vs. Mikey Vizcarra (ARC), 6-3, 4-2, DNF
Alex Prokopchuk (Cerr) vs. Pete Gibson (ARC), 6-4, 1-2, DNF
Biel Roca Carreras (Cerr) vs. Sam Hall (ARC), 6-4, 1-1, DNF
Dario Rico-Altozano (Cerr) def. Andres Anderson (ARC), 6-2, 6-4
Kwangeun Lee (Cerr) def. Robert Kendall (ARC), 6-5, DNF
Photos by Ventura College Athletics