They say tennis is an individual sport, a solitary venture with lots of long drives and a good dose of loneliness. Well, think again. Junior Team Tennis brings much of the joy and camaraderie of team sports to our game. And in SoCal, the OC Beast “Dream Team” of elite regional juniors coached by Bill Thompson epitomize the power of excellence and combined effort. “You are talking about a collection of eight of the nation’s best players,” says Thompson. “These kids could be chasing points or focusing on individual efforts…[But] despite [their] individual accomplishments, they wanted to be recognized as a National Champion with a team, which is incredible.”
Indeed, the OC Beast “Dream Team” are national champions. The squad recently won the National Junior Team Tennis Title in the 14s Advanced division at a September 22-24 event held at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. Capping a powerful five-match winning run, the team – including Avery Hopkey, Colin Kang, Kyle Kang, Kayla Meraz, Andrew Salu, Chase Thompson, Cindy Ung and Kaia Wolfe – decisively defeated the Austin Texas Academy (Texas) 54-38 in the final to take the title.
The “Dream Team” emerged from 3,646 national teams and were dominant among the final 16 that made it to Orlando. “They deserved [the] gold plate,” says Thompson, who leads team practices at the Coto Valley Country Club with Peak Tennis in Coto de Caza, California.