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Prep tennis: Three Vikings to play in Ojai

Valencia again will take part in prestigious event

Posted: April 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Year to year, Valencia head tennis coach Annie Kellogg talks about the pride she has in seeing her players play in the Ojai Valley Championships.

She has three more reasons to be proud this year.

Senior J.R. Macalutas has been chosen to play on the singles side for the junior tournament, and sophomore Joey Fernicola and junior Chris Pope will team on the doubles side to play Thursday.

The Ojai Valley Championships is the oldest amateur tournament played at the same location in the United States. It began in 1896 and is now in its 112th year.

There are 27 divisions, ranging from juniors to the Pac-12 Championship, which could feature a matchup of top-seeded UCLA and USC.

“It’s pretty special, for sure,” said Kellogg, who played at the tournament from 1988-1990 as a member of the Cal State Los Angeles tennis team. “It was one of the most memorable events in my college career. When I got this job and we’re so close to Ojai, there’s a CIF division, I said I’m going to nominate someone.”

After the nomination process, a selection committee chooses who will play in the tournament.

Kellogg said she has nominated and had Valencia players in the tournament the last 12 years.

The team’s biggest success was a first-place finish in 2005 in the 18-doubles division by Alexa and Cassie Strange.

Kellogg said she thinks her trio could have success in this year’s tennis festival-like atmosphere, which concludes on Sunday.

Macalutas, Fernicola and Pope are all undefeated in singles competition in the Foothill League this year.

“It’s the luck of the draw, but do I think (they could do well)? Yeah. J.R., Joey and Chris do have a chance,” Kellogg said.



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