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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | SPRING SPORTS NOTEBOOK

Enjoying a Season of Double Exposure

May 07, 1999| From Staff Reports

Ben Hsiang's dual sports duel for his time every spring.

The Agoura High senior has competed on the boys' tennis and golf teams since his sophomore year, becoming a valued member of both squads.

"It's pretty fun," Hsiang said. "I didn't want to have to pick, so I just decided to play both."

In tennis, Hsiang has competed this season at No. 1 or 2 doubles with several partners, including Steve Moses, Tim Mullane, Greg McNamee, Amir Nejad and Brett Weaver. He is 21-6 in sets, helping the Chargers to records of 11-4 overall and 8-3 in the Marmonte League.

Hsiang doubles as the golf team's top player, though he has been playing only since ninth grade. He has a 78.7 stroke average in three Marmonte matches for sixth-place Agoura and he ranks 13th among league players in total strokes.

In addition to juggling two sports, Hsiang devotes long hours to studying for honors classes and working part-time.

"I kind of have to keep a good schedule," he said. "I'm pretty organized now. In my junior year, my chemistry teacher was getting pretty upset because I was missing a lot of classes. But this year, it's not as big a deal because I don't have a last period."

Hsiang played tennis exclusively as a freshman, then planned to play only golf as a sophomore. But Agoura tennis Coach Stuart Limbert convinced him to return to the courts midway through the season. He has been competing in both sports ever since.

"I told the golf coach about him once, and that was my mistake," Limbert said, only half jokingly. "If he competed in only tennis, he would be an awesome player. But you're only in high school once, and he's enjoying life. I'm all for it."

Hsiang handles his dual responsibilities with cooperation between Limbert and golf Coach Frank Greminger.

"They're cool about it," Hsiang said. "The coaches just kept on agreeing, and by last year, it was kind of just understood that I was going to play both."

Hsiang, who began playing tennis when he was 7, usually practices daily with the golf team and only plays tennis against Agoura's tougher opponents.

"Even part-time, he's such a good player that if we didn't have him, there's no way we would have the record we have," Limbert said.

*

With a 42-1-1 record and an average score of 371.4 in Foothill League play, the Hart golf team has put up some impressive numbers this season.

But Coach Dennis Ford and players such as senior Ryan Wyman would trade the statistics for a berth in the CIF/Southern California Golf Assn. tournament at The SCGA Members' Club at Rancho California in Murrieta on June 8.

Although Hart has compiled a 199-0-1 record while winning 10 Foothill League titles this decade, the Indians have never advanced to the CIF/SCGA tournament, featuring the top teams and players from the Southern, City, San Diego and Central sections.

"We've finished [seventh, eighth or ninth] in the Southern Section championships in the last three years," Wyman said. "But you have to finish among the top four to qualify for [CIF/SCGA]."

*

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Hart because four of the top six players from last season graduated.

But Wyman and Co. have surprised themselves and Ford with their consistent play.

"I even thought we weren't going to be as good," Wyman said. "But we've played well. . . . We beat Westlake twice and no Hart team [in Ford's 10 seasons at the school] has ever done that."

Said Ford: "We've been sneaky good all year. Every time I think I've figured this team out, they surprise me."

*

Littlerock's tennis season has gone downhill fast.

The Lobos, who started 5-1, have since lost several players and matches and are 7-9, including 2-8 in the Golden League entering the league finals today.

With its roster of nine first-stringers pared down to five because of ineligibility and disciplinary problems, Littlerock recently had to forfeit three sets because of a lack of players in a victory against Antelope Valley.

In the past week, the Lobos lost to Palmdale and Quartz Hill after forfeiting six sets in each match.

"We went from a contender in the league to a basement-dweller overnight," Coach Ben Dale said.

Because Littlerock, a third-year tennis program, does not have a junior varsity team to dip into, it could not afford to lose any varsity players.

"It's like playing with two guys in basketball," said Dale, who is the Littlerock boys' basketball coach. "It ouched a little bit."

*

Dale, 32, plans to turn over the boys' tennis program to assistant John Konrad next season.

Dale and Konrad ran the boys' basketball and tennis programs together this school year, but Dale concentrated on basketball while Konrad, 22, has handled the tennis team despite his "assistant" title.

"I was a coach coaching tennis," Dale said. "He's a legitimate tennis coach."

Staff writers John Ortega and Lauren Peterson contributed to this notebook.

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