GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW '09: Kentridge's Quach braces for final run

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, April 6, 2009 6:16pm
  • Sports
Kentridge’s Kim Quach has qualified for the state tournament in two of her three years in high school and is hoping to bring home a medal this spring. Quach

Kentridge’s Kim Quach has qualified for the state tournament in two of her three years in high school and is hoping to bring home a medal this spring. Quach

She hopes to give up one dance for another.

The Class 4A state tennis tournament remains nearly two months away, but Kentridge High senior Kim Quach already has a dilemma – rather than a racket – in hand.

Go to her senior prom, something that comes just once in a lifetime?

Or …

Go to the state tennis tournament for the third time in four years and bring home a medal for the first time in her life?

By no means was the decision easy. But the competitive-almost-to-a-fault Quach knows where her passions lie.

“I’m pretty determined,” said Quach, the South Puget Sound League North Division’s top returning singles player this spring. “I think I am choosing state over prom. I want it pretty bad.”

That said, prom isn’t yet out of the question.

“I’m hoping to win my first two matches,” Quach continued. “If I win my first two, I still will be able to go to prom. But it will be tough.”

Tough is one thing Quach has been on her opponents since first donning the green and gold four years ago. There isn’t another player in the SPSL North who can boast of qualifying for state in two of the last three years.

And though Quach admits it’s a bit humbling to have that sort of track record, the one thing she truly thirsts for now is not just a state berth, but something to show for it in the form of a medal.

It helps explain why the powerful left-hander is willing to take a pass on the biggest dance of her teen life to pick up the racket for one final prep weekend.

“It would just be a really big accomplishment,” admitted Quach, who’s just as talented in the classroom, where she sports a 3.6 grade-point average carrying a load that includes AP calculus, college English and physics among others. “It I train really hard and put my focus into it, I’m pretty sure I can do it. I want to be able to contend this year.”

And though Quach won’t be the favorite – that honor goes to Decatur sophomore standout Meghan Cassens – she certainly should be among a handful of capable challengers. The top six placers at state bring home medals.

“When I talk to the girls about state, I ask, ‘Are you going to attend or contend?’ ” Kentridge coach Jennifer McIntosh said. “I think Kim is going to contend this year. I think she is hoping to not just go to state, but to place.”

The talent is evident, too. A dominating left-hander, Quach has the athletic quickness to play tough at the net, but also the power to sit back and pick her shots.

“She’s got a very nice game, a power game,” McIntosh said. “She’s got a lot of power.”

But there’s also that slight advantage Quach gains from being left-handed, which gives the ball a decidedly different spin coming off the racket. In addition, since there are fewer lefties in the SPSL North – and, of course, in general – the ball is coming from a different angle, forcing her opponents to adjust quickly or be dispatched in a hurry.

Add Quach’s raw power to the equation and her ascension in the sport makes sense.

“I think she’s the top player in the North,” said Thomas Jefferson coach Andrew Buchan. “Kim’s going to get to state and I think she should get on the medal stand. I don’t think she’s going to be happy just to be there.”

What sets Quach apart from the rest?

“She just hits the ball a ton,” Buchan said.

Quach will need to hit it a ton this spring, not only to get back to the state tournament, but also to help the Chargers win their second straight North Division crown. Kentridge entered the season two weeks ago as the odds-on favorite to win the division, though things are not nearly as clear-cut this time around. Last season, the Chargers used their depth to push around everybody in the division on the way to a perfect 14-0 record.

Things aren’t likely to go so smoothly this time around. Although the Chargers return Quach, along with standouts Vicky Tran, Jazmine AhYat and Kelsey Robson, they graduated considerable talent in state veterans Chelsey White and Anna McIntosh.

Throw in Auburn and Auburn Riverside, both of which are back in the division after a two-year stay in the SPSL 3A and always pose a threat, and Kentridge’s challenge to repeat becomes that much stiffer.

“We should be one of the top teams,” McIntosh noted. “But whether we have the horsepower to go undefeated again, I don’t know.”

Quach, for one, anticipates doing her share – and then some – to make it happen.

The senior spent three hours every day training last summer. She also played in a handful of tournaments, including a coed national tournament in Mobile, Ala. during October, where she and her partner finished fifth among 15 teams.

“I think our team is pretty strong,” Quach said. “We have a couple players who are significantly strong. We’re a pretty deep team and we’re going to try our best to repeat as league champs.”

Whatever transpires during the next eight weeks, Quach anticipates dancing in the end.

And if she has her way, that dance will be of the victory variety.

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