(Photo used by permission of Burns)
Junior Nico Burns prepares to hit an oncoming ball.

Junior Nico Burns was the only tennis player to participate in the Section Championship Tournament in Stockton, although sophomore Michaela Chen and seniors Emil Erickson and Christian Van Vleck also qualified.  

The team competed in small-school, coed Division III, which is comprised of seven leagues, each including seven to eight schools, according to coach Jamie Nelson.

About 50 players from schools in the section were invited to compete in the tournament.

Erickson and Van Vleck were sick and, therefore, not able to attend the match. Chen said she opted out because of the overwhelming amount of school she had already missed due to tennis matches.

Burns won his first round match (6-3, 6-0) but lost the quarterfinals match (0-6, 1-6).

Because the tournament follows a single elimination format, Burns did not qualify to participate the second day, and the Cavs’ season came to a close.

According to Burns, this was not completely a bad thing, considering that the AP U.S. history exam was on Friday, May 5.

“I didn’t want to have to worry about a make-up test for two more weeks, so I was really relieved that I got to take it on Friday,” Burns said.

According to Burns, his first opponent was very friendly and a great sport.

(Photo used by permission of Burns)
Junior Nico Burns competes in one of the rounds of the Section Championship Tournament.

“The whole match he said things like ‘Great shot’ or ‘Nice serve,’ which you don’t see often (in) competitive tennis players,” Burns said.

He said that this opponent even wished him luck in his next match.

However, Burns said that his second opponent, although a better tennis player than his first, was rather rude.

“Toward the end of the second set, when he was up, I won a few points and he just screamed at the top of his lungs in the middle of the court,” Burns said.

“I thought this was pretty ridiculous, considering he was up (6-0, 5-1) in the match.”

Burns said that he has competed in this tournament before and knew that the level of play was high, so he was not really expecting a win.

Even so, he was hoping to do well, so he was slightly disappointed in his results.

Burns also commented on his improvements this season.

“Over the course of the season, I learned that staying calm is the most important part in playing a tennis match,” Burns said.

“Coaches often tell you that tennis is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical, (which is) easy to brush off as an exaggeration.

“However, throughout the season I was able to stay calm during my matches, and it made a difference.”

By Anna Frankel

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