By Gideon Rubin
Torrey Pines freshman tennis sensation Taylor Fritz capped off his season in grand fashion, winning the San Diego Section Division I championship.
Fritz defeated Rancho Bernardo senior William Chui 6-2, 6-3 in the finals on June 3 at Barnes Tennis Center.
Fritz was named the section’s “Player of the Year.”
“It’s very impressive,” Torrey Pines coach Chris Numbers said. “Given that he’s a freshman it’s very special.”
Fritz improved his overall record for the season to 29-2.
Fritz advanced to the finals as the No. 1 seed.
He defeated No. 8 Greg Lyon of Coronado High 6-4 in a quarterfinal match on May 30 and went on to beat La Jolla’s Jake Roberts, a No. 4 seed, 7-5, 6-3 in a semifinal match later in the day.
Chui was the No. 2 seed.
Fritz was battling cold symptoms, but that didn’t seem to bother him, Numbers said.
“He’s very mentally tough and I think he had the upper hand mentally and physically over his opponent,” Numbers said. “He showed that he’s head and shoulders the best player in the section.”
Numbers said Fritz’s progression this season from highly-talented incoming freshman with no varsity experience to section champion was impressive too.
Fritz seemed to elevate his game in the postseason.
“I think his focus was a little bit more intense,” Numbers said. “I think he was a little bit more focused in the postseason.”
Fritz is no stranger to elite competition. The powerful 6-foot-3 hitter who just turned 15 earlier this year, won the U.S.T.A. Boys Under-14 national championship last summer.
He played in the finals of the prestigious Ojai tournament earlier this season.
“He was good before he came in and I think he matured this season,” Numbers said. “Tennis is such an individual sport, but when you’re playing on a team I think you just mature naturally. You can’t do it all yourself, you’ve got to think about your team as well and he was a great teammate.”
Torrey Pines advanced to the state championships for a fourth straight year after placing second in the Southern California Regional Championships on May 30.
The Falcons were scheduled to travel to Carmel for the June 5 state finals at Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel. Torrey Pines won the title in 2011 and finished second last season.
The Falcons shot a combined 368 on an 18-hole par-72 course at Brookside Golf Course in the regional match, finishing five strokes behind champion Sunny Hills of Fullerton.
Aaron Strockis shot a 70 to lead the Falcons and Tailin Song and Jonah Holty each contributed 72 scores.
Danny Ochoa shot 76, and Jaime Cheatam and Ott Vanhatalo added 78 and 79 scores, respectively.
Track and Field:
Cathedral Catholic girls’ standout Hannah Labrie-Smith recorded one of the best times in San Diego Section history at the state finals in Clovis.
Labrie-Smith clocked a 42.27-second time in a prelim heat of the 300-meter hurdles at Buchanan High on May 31.
She finished third in the finals the next day, posting a 42.58.
Labrie-Smith’s performance in the prelims was within a hundredth of a second of the 42.26 Olympic gold medalist Gail Devers clocked in 1983.
Torrey Pines’ Tal Braude clocked a 9:06.51 to place fifth in the 3,200.