BY ANTHONY MENDOLIA
Photo courtesy of COD Athletics. The men’s tennis team celebrates by holding the state championship trophy.
History was made last Wednesday April 24, as COD men’s tennis clinched their 15th state championship, beating Foothill 5-1. The amount of titles they possess is of course the most in the state since men’s tennis was a CCCAA sport, but also marked head coach Guy Fritz’s ninth state title with the program.
The title was won after two impressive comebacks, one from the doubles team of Kalman Boyd and Alex Kuperstein, and the other in singles play from Manfred Vogt. The team of Boyd/Kuperstein were down 5 games to 1 before amassing an astounding comeback to win their set 8-6. Vogt went into an epic tiebreaker in his match a 6-6 first set. He won that tiebreaker by a score of 9-7, then won the next set 6-3 on an ace of serve to secure the state title for the Roadrunners.
Dominance has been the name of the game for COD men’s tennis this season. Not only did they finish undefeated in their conference with a record of 12-0, but they lost only 10 of the 106 games they played in all of the conference play.
When putting their entire regular season into account, they had an overall record of 15-1 and won 119 games while only losing 22. It’d be accurate to describe this team as an absolute buzzsaw.
What’s even more incredible is that with exception of sophomore Kalman Boyd (Solana Beach, CA), the entire team is comprised of freshmen. Three who have particularly shined are Alex Kuperstein (PDHS), Manfred Vogt (Mexico City, MX) and Sebastian Gomez Romero (PDHS). In singles play, Kuperstein and Vogt didn’t lose a match all season, along with sophomore Boyd. In doubles play, the teams of Boyd and Kuperstein nor Vogt and Romero lost a match either.
The team’s record was revealed to be even more impressive when talking to head coach Guy Fritz just before their last match of the regular season against Adolphus College (MN). “We’ve lost one match to the fifth-ranked team in the nation [Meza, AZ] and that’s been it,” Fritz said, “We’ve beat some division 3 schools, and we’re about to beat another one here today.”
Coach Fritz’s confidence was indeed not unwarranted, as they beat Adolphus College 8-1. Next up for the Roadrunners came postseason play, and they certainly had the looks of a team that had what it takes to make a deep postseason run.
And that they did, as the first ousted Riverside 5-1 in the first round. They followed that up with a 5-2 victory at Irvine Valley, and then a 5-1 win at Cerritos in the regional final, which clinched the Roadrunners a place in the state championship.
For Fritz, this was his first year back under the reigns of the program in over 15 years. After amassing an already successful coaching career here at the Desert, he turned to coach professionally for over a decade and a half. When he first left, he coached professionals Coco Vanderweghe, who won the U.S. Open double’s title last year, and his son Taylor Fritz, who is the 40th ranked player in the world.
Now back on the job, he walked away with something that is yet another state title. The entire COD community is very proud of the men’s tennis team.