Clark High School’s trophy case isn’t overflowing with recent league titles.
The Chargers struggle to be competitive in some sports in the Southwest League and often lose attention to more established programs. That only makes the occasions when Clark has success that much sweeter.
Such is the case for the girls tennis team, which enters this season with status that many of Clark’s programs aspire to — defending league champion.
The Chargers ran the table in the Southwest last year, including a 10-9 tiebreaker win over perennial power Bishop Gorman, and reached the semifinals of the Sunset Region tournament.
But now comes the bigger challenge: staying on top.
“We’re hoping to do just as well as last year,” first-year coach Liz Case said. “We’re excited. We have a lot of good things going.”
The Chargers return 11 players, including six seniors, from a team whose only loss was to eventual state champion The Meadows in the Sunset tournament.
“I can tell these guys have the attitude that they’ve been successful in the past, and they want to take the tradition and keep going with it,” Case said.
Chief among the returnees is senior Madee Pasimio, who teamed with Natasha James to advance to the state semifinals in doubles.
James graduated, but Pasimio brings back a solid all-around game and a wealth of knowledge to pass on to younger teammates.
“Going up there to state and being able to relate that experience to the younger girls is good,” Pasimio said. “It shows them what can really come of hard work.”
Dedication has been the cornerstone of Clark’s success, Pasimio said.
“We come out here to work,” she said. “It’s not just to come out here and get a (physical education) waiver. Everybody here works hard because you want to be successful for your teammates.”
Case also expects big contributions from senior Julia Hagen, junior Sharon Fang and sophomore Abbey Escala.
“I’ve been really impressed with everyone’s work ethic,” Case said. “It’s hot out, but they’re still out here, putting in the time and effort.”
Gorman should be solid again this season, and The Meadows and Palo Verde have strong programs in the Northwest, making a region title a difficult goal for any team in the Sunset. Clark’s postseason experience could prove valuable in its quest for league and regional titles.
“We need to be prepared mentally for any team,” Case said. “We’ve got some different players this year, but they have the capability and the mental mindset that if they really want it, they can get it. It’ll be a great challenge for them, but they can do it.”