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Balancing Act

Six Stands Out On and Off Court for Esperanza

November 07, 2000|DAVE McKIBBEN

While her competitors were grinding away on the junior tournament circuit Sunday afternoon, Esperanza High senior Kelly Six was at home, grinding away at the books. Six is finishing her high school tennis career in style--capturing her first Sunset League singles title--and on her own terms.

Six has a private coach but sees him only once a week. She attends all of her team's matches and practices and she doesn't play junior tennis.

"Tennis is just a piece of the puzzle for Kelly," said Keri Wood, Esperanza's coach.

The rest of Six's puzzle is filled with summer vacations to Europe, homecoming dances, school work and boyfriends. The typical teenager, but not the typical tennis star.

"I was sort of obsessed with tennis for a while," Six said. "But then in high school, I started getting more involved socially and academically."

Academically, Six's number are impressive. Last year, her grade-point average was 4.86. Overall, it's 4.6. Six isn't doing too bad with her social life either. She's dating Esperanza defensive back Matt Hathaway and she was recently voted homecoming queen.

"I'm really busy with everything right now," Six said, "but if you get the right guy, he'll help you balance it."

Six pulled a pretty good balancing act on Thursday in the Sunset League tournament, defeating longtime rival Christina Weng of Marina in the semifinals, 6-1, 6-3, and teammate H.R. Espiritu in the final, 6-4, 6-1.

Weng defeated Six in last year's league final and twice this year in league play.

"She's had me pretty good lately, but I played a lot more consistently this time," she said. "I only went for the winners I knew I had."

Six, who is not being recruited, went into the day knowing her competitive tennis career is winding down.

"That made the victory a little sweeter, realizing this is one of my last matches," she said. "I haven't gotten any big offers. I might walk on somewhere, but I'm pretty burned out on tennis."

She is hoping to attend UCLA, Virginia or UC San Diego.

"I might walk on for tennis if I go to a small school like UCSD, but I doubt it," Six said. "I know I'll probably miss it."

And Esperanza's tennis team will surely miss Six.

"She's a really good role model," Wood said. "She focuses all of her attention on her high school team. It's kind of a lost art. A lot of these girls tell you, I'll give an hour and a half a week and see you at game time."

Six and Espiritu move on to the Nov. 18 Southern Section individual preliminaries, which will be held at Old Ranch Tennis Club in Seal Beach, Long Beach's Billie Jean King Tennis Center, Agoura High School and the Claremont Club.

For the first time in more than 10 years, the championships will not be held in Orange County. The Claremont Club, which also hosts the team finals, will host the round of 16 and quarterfinals on Thursday Nov. 30 and the semifinals and finals on Friday, Dec. 1.


As expected, top-ranked Corona del Mar (17-2) and ninth-ranked Laguna Beach (11-7) are the top-seeded teams in Division IV and V playoffs.

The new enrollment-based playoff system does not allow schools to move up into higher divisions, which is why Corona del Mar, traditionally a tennis power, has been placed in Division IV. None of the other three-seeded teams in Division V are from Orange County. Calabasas is No. 2, North-Hollywood Harvard-Westlake is No. 3 and San Luis Obispo is fourth.

Laguna Beach, which has won two consecutive Division V titles, opens with Calvary Chapel or Malibu on Saturday in the second round. Carpinteria Cate, which lost to the Artists in last year's final, is seeded second.

In Division I, second-ranked Dana Hills is seeded second and unranked Capistrano Valley (11-6) is fourth. Defending champion Palos Verdes Peninsula is seeded first and Upland is second. Six's Esperanza team, which is 13-5, hosts Temecula Valley in the first round.

In Division II, the top four seeded teams are Beverly Hills, Troy, Woodbridge and Corona Centennial.

Troy has a tough road back to the finals. The Warriors could play 10th-ranked Villa Park (11-7), the Century League champion, in the quarterfinals and Woodbridge in the semifinals.

In Division III, the top four-seeded teams are Palm Desert, Mater Dei, Newport Harbor and Santa Margarita. Fifth-ranked Mater Dei (13-3), last year's Division II champion, plays Sonora or Brea Olinda in the first round. Eighth-ranked Newport Harbor (10-6), which lost last year's Division I final to Peninsula, opens with Savanna and Santa Margarita (9-3) hosts Tustin.

The wild-card round begins today, the first round is Thursday and the second round is Saturday. The quarterfinals are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14 and the semifinals are Thursday, Nov. 16. The finals are Monday, Nov. 18.


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Orange County Sportswriters' Poll


Pos. School (League) Rec 1. Corona del Mar (Pacific Coast) 17-2 2. Dana Hills (South Coast) 17-4 3. Troy (Freeway) 16-4 4. Woodbridge (Sea View) 19-5 5. Mater Dei (Serra) 13-3 6. Los Alamitos (Sunset) 13-1 7. Canyon (Century) 18-4 8. Newport Harbor (Sea View) 10-6 9. Laguna Beach (Pacific Coast) 11-7 10. Villa Park (Century) 11-6


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