Photo by Raymond Link ’20 | Andrew Chong ’21 serves in a practice session.
By Eric Lindholm ’19
The Brophy Tennis team has a pedigree of success in Arizona, and this year, the team looks to test their strengths nationally with their acceptance to the Newport Invitational.
The team has a unique dynamic this season, with the top two players on the team being a Freshman and Sophomore respectively and having a very even mix of ages throughout the lineup.
Andrew Chong ‘21 leads the lineup for the varsity team and started playing in the 1st grade. “I got drawn in because my parents wanted me to play a sport, and my dad’s colleague’s son also played,” Chong said. These introductory tennis lessons eventually developed into Chong taking a personal interest in the game.
Remaining undefeated last season, the team looks to maintain the strong performance in all aspects of the game this year. “We tend to be very good at doubles, so just continue to perform well at doubles, and just have everyone improve,” Chong said. Additionally, they plan to “win State again and perform well in national tournaments,” said Chong.
The national tournament Chong is referring to is the All-American Invitational Boys Tennis Team Tournament in Newport Beach, California. Mr. Bill Woods is Brophy’s Athletic Director and former tennis coach for over 21 years. He was involved in coordinating the team to attend the prestigious invitational. “The tournament has 16 teams, with half of those teams coming from California,” Mr. Woods said.
While high player ranking and state titles may have gotten the team into the national tournament, the element of “team” in the very individualistic sport of tennis is the philosophy the Brophy team has championed. Brophy graduate and Seattle University alumni Eric Chalmers ’08 has led the charge in bringing his selfless leadership style from his years of play and leadership at Brophy.
Mr. Woods said that Mr. Chalmers was “one of the finest leaders I ever had in my 21 years.”
“Tennis is an individual sport and he makes it into a team sport,” Chong said in light of Mr. Chalmer’s coaching ability.
“Coach Chalmers was so unselfish because he was the number one player his junior year, and kind of moved himself to be the number four player as a senior as he’d been coming off an injury,” Mr. Woods said. “There were a lot of egos, but he was the kind of guy that put the team before himself,” said Mr. Woods.
Alongside having a coach that emphasizes team over individual, Garrett Metzler ’19 can attest to the team’s strong bonds also strengthened from a team retreat the previous season. “That definitely introduced all of the members and teammates to each other,” Metzler said. “That was my first tennis [retreat] since I’ve been here.”
Backed by exemplary leadership and a united squad, the Brophy Tennis team is poised to make another state championship run while positioning themselves to pick up national recognition.