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The Times' All-Region Boys' Tennis

Junior Was No Ordinary Joe

Boys' tennis: Westlake's fiery leader earns player-of-year honors after posting 49-2 singles record.


WESTLAKE VILLAGE — Darren Joe keenly knows how the silence at important tennis matches can be deafening.

So the Westlake High junior, who plays No. 1 singles, decided to take a vocal approach to the 1997 season.

During the Warriors' 22-1 campaign--throughout which they were ranked No. 1 until a 10-8 loss to Harvard-Westlake in the Southern Section championship match--Joe gathered his teammates for pep talks.

"After one or two rounds of play against a tough team, he would call the team together and say, 'Listen, this could come down to games. So win every game you can,' " Westlake Coach Grant Calkins said. "I thought it was interesting the way he could anticipate situations like that."

Said Joe: "This was a team that had awesome talent, but it needed some guidance. A lot of tennis is mental. And you can beat people just with fire, with intensity. And when I said something, everybody listened."

Joe finished 49-2, including 23-0 in the Marmonte League, which is considered the area's toughest circuit. He is The Times' All-Region player of the year.

With such success, it is easy to see why a team with no seniors would follow Joe's lead. But he didn't stop there.

As a member of student government, Joe served as Westlake's entertainment commissioner. His primary tasks were leading rallies and operating the school's sound system.

"I'm one of those people that actually enjoys school," he said. "It's been a great year."

In the classroom, Joe maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and has hopes of pursuing tennis and student leadership at an Ivy League school.

"There's only so much you can do with the time you have," he said. "It's tough to balance school and tennis and entertainment, but I think I can manage."

If anything, Joe's development in tennis has suffered.

Because of his diverse interests, he doesn't spend as much time on the court as other top junior players in Southern California. But he still maintains a top-30 ranking in the 18-and-under division and he'll beat any opponent who underestimates him.

Unlike most of his opponents, Joe is able to play aggressively while minimizing unforced errors. His backhand is as dangerous as his forehand, and he loves to attack short shots.

"If you leave him an open-court shot, you can kiss that point goodbye," Calkins said. "If you pressure him, he'll rise to the challenge."

"When both players are tight, I feel like I have an edge," Joe said. "You've got to come out on fire and grind it."




Ji Chung

Glendale, Sr.

Led the Dynamiters to the Pacific League championship, was 30-0 in league play and beat defending champion Danny Kim of Hoover for singles title.


Joey Edelberg

Oak Park, So.

Overcame shoulder problems to win Tri-Valley League singles title, finished 32-3 and beat former Ojai champion Erin Carroll in the Southern Section individual tournament.


Nick Weiss

Calabasas, Fr.

Considered one of the nation's top age-group players, he posted a 56-1 record and reached the round of 16 at Ojai and the section individual tournament.


Brian Bezonsky, Jr.

Andrew Kowell, Sr.


Bezonsky and Kowell were 12-0 in the postseason, leading the Wolverines to the section Division III championship. Bezonsky was also 12-3 in singles and Kowell was 21-7 overall in doubles.


Erin Carroll, Jr.

Joe Chrisman, Sr.


Singles players joined forces to win interscholastic championship at Ojai. Carroll won Ojai title in boys' 16s in 1996. Chrisman is headed to California on scholarship.


Josh Glass, Jr.

James Chun, Jr.

Campbell Hall

Co-captains and best friends, Glass and Chun led the Vikings to their first berth in section final. Their 62-2 record included a 47-set winning streak.



Danny Kim

Hoover, Sr.

Finished 52-6 and nearly upset top-seeded John Paul Fruttero of San Marino in the first round of the section individual regional. Kim is 99-10 the past two seasons.


Anthony Gabriele

Birmingham, Sr.

Played No. 1 four years for the Braves. Was 25-2 and reached semifinals of the section individual tournament. Had 81-10 career record.


Adam Zunder

Campbell Hall, Fr.

Played No. 1 and led his team to three victories over Brentwood and its first Delphic League title. Posted a 53-7 record, losing only to highly ranked junior players.


Kamyar Daneshvar, So.

Aron Gortman, Fr.


Daneshvar and Gortman were 9-0 in the playoffs and won key sets by scores of 7-6 (9-7) and 7-5 to help the Wolverines upset No. 1-ranked Westlake in the section Division III title match. They were 18-2 overall.


Jason Gaona, Sr.

Jared Gaona, Jr.


Brothers joined forces to win Marmonte League doubles championship. Unseeded, they beat the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams and made section quarterfinals.


Deepu Murthy, Jr.

Steve Ishoo, Jr.

Granada Hills

Were 17-2 in post-season play, losing twice to Jung Cho and Adam Pennella of Palisades. The second defeat came in the championship match of the City Section tournament.

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