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Rocklin tennis looking strong in league play

Thunder challenge Del Oro, Granite Bay
By: Amanda Calzada Placer Herald Correspondent
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Five returning seniors, an outstanding freshman, and a USPTA Pro I professional of a coach have all been serving Rocklin High School’s varsity boys tennis team well as the Thunder heads into the second half of the season. “It may take a while, but we are going to crash the party,” said coach Marsh Riggs, who says the league’s toughest opponents are Granite Bay and Del Oro. The Thunder’s loss against Del Oro March 29 (7-2) updated their season record to 10-3. Despite the score, Riggs said the matches were close and Rocklin still put forth their best efforts. “I personally feel that we don’t have any weaknesses; we just have to keep practicing harder individually and as a team,” said Alex Agelakopoulos, who credits the team’s strength to the depth of the players and coach Riggs. Agelakopoulos took his first season loss against the Eagles on Thursday. The freshman, ranked fourth in Rocklin, holds a season record of 9-1. He earned five wins without yielding a single game, 6-0, 6-0. Leading the team is the No. 1 ranked player and team captain Chris Hartman. The senior’s league record of 8-4 includes matches from the top athletes in the league. Senior classmate, David Leung, has played at the “tough” 2-3 singles position throughout the season, excelling with a 9-3 singles record. His stats include a “surprisingly easy” 6-3, 6-2 win at Granite Bay. Leung also took home a win against rival Del Oro. Lucas Hauptman, senior, also had an outstanding performance in Loomis. His win against the Eagles updates his season record to 11-1. Against Granite Bay March 22, Hauptman carried an undefeated record into the match before dropping a close, three set decision. “I personally try to not stress about matches,” said Hauptman, “because when I do I usually don't play my best.” During the weekend of March 2-3, the Thunder advanced to the semifinals of the Fresno California High School Tennis Classic in a dominating fashion winning the first five matches. Rocklin suffered a tough home-court loss of 4-2 to the Clovis East team. The match came down to the two, third set match tie-breaks. Making a quick recovery, the Thunder secured the third place trophy in the nation’s largest high school tennis tournament. “Our guys are fighters and tough competitors and have already set the bar high with their outstanding record,” said Riggs, who said the team has exceeded his expectations with respect to dedication and willingness to work. Riggs, a decorated athlete himself, brings elite experience to the team. The director of tennis at Sunset Whitney heads the team with a strong work ethic and “tough-minded” strategy. He has been recipient of Nike P.L.A.Y. Coach of the Game award and the National Junior Tennis League Coaching award which was presented at the U.S. Open in New York City. “I was very fortunate to inherit such a good team,” said Riggs. “My hope is that I can use my experience and positive attitude to bring us to the next level.” Rocklin will be facing Granite Bay April 17 before heading into the Sierra Foothill League Tournament. A complete season schedule of the Thunder can be viewed at rhs.rocklin.k12.ca.us