Bonanza wasn’t about to miss its chance to climb back atop the boys tennis heap.
The Bengals, who won four of five Class 4A state titles during a run that ended in 2005, reclaimed the top spot with a 13-5 win over Coronado in the championship match Friday morning at Carson High School.
“These guys played hour after hour, day after day for this day,” said Bonanza coach Erik Davis. “It’s an exciting feeling.”
Bonanza, which won state titles in 2001, ’02, ’03 and ’05, appeared destined for greatness at the start of the season, welcoming back the bulk of last year’s state runner-up team and having 12 seniors on the roster.
The Bengals didn’t disappoint, finishing the season at 14-0, including a win over two-time defending state champion Palo Verde in the Sunset Region final.
“After we pulled off the big upset against what a lot of people were calling the greatest high school tennis team ever put together in Palo Verde, there was an immense amount of pressure on this team,” Davis said. “This is probably the greatest experience I’ve had as a coach or a player.”
Davis won two state doubles titles at Bonanza in the 1990s, but wasn’t a part of a team champion.
Thanks to a 7-2 effort by his singles players Friday, he now has a state title to his credit.
Brenden Aguilar, a freshman, went 3-0 in singles for the Bengals. He was also 3-0 in Bonanza’s semifinal win over Bishop Manogue.
“He just had so much support from his teammates,” Davis said of Aguilar. “He was so excited to be an impact player on this team, but he wasn’t trying to win for himself. He was winning for the guys next to him. He wanted this for his teammates, and he brought his best tennis."
Tommy Lettero and Aashish Daulat each went 2-1 in singles.
Daulat generally plays doubles and will compete for the state doubles title this weekend, but was switched to singles Friday.
“Aashish has been the heart and soul of this program for four years,” Davis said. “He’s our leader. He did a fantastic job.”
In doubles, the teams of Laurent Gontier and Sean Lettero, and Andrew Whiting and John Grady each went 2-1
“Bonanza just came out and played,” said Coronado coach Luther Bohanan. “They’re a senior club. It was seniors versus kids who just aren’t there yet.”
Colton Pate and Marc Feldman went 3-0 in doubles for Coronado.
“My other doubles teams had chances, but they just didn’t come through,” Bohanan said.
Brian Foley, one of six freshmen on Coronado’s roster, was 2-1 in singles. The Cougars graduate only two seniors and should be one of the favorites to compete for the title next season.
“It was a great experience for the kids,” Bohanan said. “They played well. They didn’t quit. I’m proud of them.”