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BOYS' TENNIS

Nation's Best Coming to Newport Beach

March 13, 2001|DAVE McKIBBEN

The National High School Tennis All-American boys' team tournament might be in its infancy. But in terms of prestige and significance, it is quickly catching up to the Southern Section tournament.

"It's more important than anything we do all year," said tournament founder Tim Mang, whose Corona del Mar team is seeded third in the two-year-old event that begins Friday at six sites around Newport Beach. "Because there are so many national teams, it has a big effect on national rankings. Our CIF tournament isn't as big a deal anymore because of the new format."

The enrollment-based format, which does not allow small schools such as Corona del Mar to jump into higher divisions, places the Sea Kings in Division V this season. Their only competition in Division V would appear to be Brentwood, which plays at Corona del Mar today and is entered in the national tournament.

The Sea Kings (3-0), the top-ranked team in Orange County, have the toughest nonleague schedule in the county. But over a two-day period, they could play teams from four states outside California--New York, South Carolina, Arizona and Virginia.

Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Palisades Tennis Club, Corona del Mar opens with Horace Mann of Riverdale, N.Y. In either the second round or the consolation round, Corona del Mar will meet Brophy Prep of Phoenix or Woodberry Forrest School of Virginia. If the Sea Kings reach the semifinals on Saturday, they could meet second-seeded Atherton Menlo. Palos Verdes Peninsula, last year's defending champion, is the top-seeded team.

"The top teams in the CIF are so spread out these days," Mang said. "This is where all the talented teams come together."

The talent could have been even better had Miami Cardinal Gibbons, last year's mythical national champion along with Peninsula, accepted Mang's invitation.

"Florida schools can't travel over 500 miles," Mang said. "Unfortunately, we're dealing with state associations that don't want to change."

TOURNAMENT ADD

The national tournament finals will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday at Palisades. The semifinals are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Park Newport Apartments and Corona del Mar High. Other locations are Newport Beach Tennis Club, Costa Mesa Tennis Center and Balboa Bay Racquet Club.

MAK STILL OUT

University, the only other county team invited to the national tournament, will be without junior Henry Mak. Mak, ranked sixth nationally in the boys' 16s last year, hasn't played a match in eight months because of a blood infection.

But after seeing an immunologist last week, Mak got some encouraging news.

"The doctors are taking it real slow and logically," he said. "They think they might have diagnosed my infection and they've put me on an anti-viral medication."

If the medication works, Mak said he could return to the court before the season ends. The Trojans could use a healthy Mak. Last week, they lost their first match in over a year to Los Alamitos, 10-8.

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If you have an item or idea for the boys' tennis report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at david.mckibben@latimes.com.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BOYS' TENNIS TOP 10

Orange County Sportswriters' Poll

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Pos. School League Rec 1. Corona del Mare Pacific Coast 3-0 2. Los Alamitos Sunset 2-1 3. University Pacific Coast 2-1 4. Troy Freeway 5-0 5. Servite Serra 2-0 6. Woodbridge Sea View 2-2 7. Dana Hills South Coast 3-0 8. Canyon Century 5-0 9. Sunny Hills Freeway 1-0 10. Capistrano Valley South Coast 0-0

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Others: Aliso Niguel, Irvine, Mater Dei

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