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SRHS tennis team closes upbeat year

Darren Gunatilake concentrates on a return May 10 during CIF-SDS singles competition. (photo by Jim Wick) 

SRHS tennis team closes upbeat year

By Hector Trujillo

The Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS) mens tennis team had an impressive 2023 performance as compared to last year by making the CIF-SDS Open Division playoffs and finishing with an 8-5 overall season record.

SRHS, which plays in Division 1, also saw its top-two players in freshman Darren Gunatilake and junior Tyler Luke face each other in the league singles competition, with Gunatilake coming out on top in a hard-fought match.

“Everybody seemed to have good sportsmanship this season and they all worked hard,” said head coach Karyn McCartney. “I felt that they were cohesive together. Sometimes they had different partners, but for the most part, they just worked hard and did their best.”

The team had 12 players this season – which was the same as 2022 – and started practices on Feb. 4. The first competition came on March 7 as visitors versus Cathedral Catholic High School, followed by a home-meeting against La Jolla High School on March 9.

The Falcons would then play again on March 14 versus Patrick Henry High School, returning home on March 16 to take on Coronado High School, and closed off the first round of season competition against the Saint Augustine Saints on March 21.

“The goal was not only to make the playoffs, but also to inspire and encourage team play,” McCartney said. “I want them to learn about the importance of working hard enough so they can get to where they need to be.”

SRHS opened the second round of season play at home on March 23 versus Cathedral Catholic High before moving on and facing La Jolla High on April 4. The Falcons then took on Patrick Henry High two days later and squared off against Coronado on April 11 before closing out the regular season on the road on April 13 versus Saint Augustine High.

“I’m not there to change the kids’ tennis, but I’m there to help them achieve better goals,” McCartney said. “My goal is not just their individual achievement, but also making them a better person all the way around.”

McCartney helped lead the SRHS womens tennis team to the 2021 CIF-SDS Division 1 championship, which was the first title for them in 28 years. She played four years at Tustin High School before moving on to Orange Coast College where she earned the number one ranking in the state.

Falcons tennis players Tyler Luke (left) and Darren Gunatilake flank coach Karyn McCartney as they display their Western League tournament plaques. (courtesy photo)