Keep­ing a clear mind

Prep ten­nis: Ag­gres­sive style of play keeps Wild­cat Parker McBride ahead of Foothill League com­pe­ti­tion

The Signal - - SPORTS - By Ha­ley Sawyer Sig­nal Sports Ed­i­tor

Al­though he ap­pears ag­gres­sive on the court, Parker McBride in­sists he’s re­laxed.

“Hon­estly, I don’t try to think about any­thing when I play,” he said. “Just keep a clear mind and let my body take over.”

McBride’s re­laxed-yet-dom­i­nat­ing style of play has earned him the ti­tle of 2018 All SCV Boys Ten­nis Sin­gles Player of the Year.

As a means of pre­par­ing for matches, he sleeps on the car ride to wher­ever the site of the match will be. Once he steps foot on the court, how­ever, McBride looks any­thing but sleepy. Heavy-handed serves and swift re­turns com­mence, along with plenty of shout­ing.

“Ag­gres­sive,” McBride said of his style of play. “Just al­ways try to find ways to the net.”

A high­light of the se­nior’s sea­son was yet an­other show­down against team­mate Davey Wood­land in the Foothill League in­di­vid­ual fi­nals.

For the third con­sec­u­tive sea­son, the in­di­vid­ual crown had come down to the pair. Wood­land had won the first two times. The third time, it was McBride who came out on top.

“He’s a great player and I’ve been bat­tling with him all my life, so it felt great to win,” McBride said. “He def­i­nitely helped shape my game. Play­ing against him taught me to be men­tally tough.”

In ad­di­tion to hav­ing ten­nis-cen­tric child­hood friends, McBride was also sur­rounded by a ten­nis fam­ily. While he played for the Wild­cats boys team, his sis­ter, Jor­dyn, plays for the girls team, which his mom, Dina, also coaches.

Al­though he tried just about ev­ery sport grow­ing up – par­tic­u­larly lacrosse – it only seemed nat­u­ral that McBride, who will con­tinue his ca­reer at Irvine Val­ley Col­lege, fell into the sport that sur­rounded him since birth.

“I just con­stantly hear ten­nis,” he said. “And you can see what they’re talk­ing about when you go to tour­na­ments and see matches on TV.”

Ahead of his se­nior year, McBride fo­cused on strength­en­ing his serve. It’s saved him in a few matches, he said, but he can’t bring him­self to com­pletely de­pend on one par­tic­u­lar skill to win.

“It’s al­ways a dif­fer­ent thing that lets me win ev­ery day,” McBride said, “be­cause not ev­ery­thing will be on each day.”

No mat­ter what phys­i­cal skill McBride uses to win in a match, you can al­ways count on his tenac­ity.

First Team

Davey Wood­land, se­nior, West Ranch

The Wild­cats’ No. 1 sin­gles player bat­tled it out with Parker McBride for the third con­sec­u­tive year in the race for the Foothill League in­di­vid­ual ti­tle. He’s now 2-for-3 in league ti­tle matches, with McBride win­ning the most re­cent one in a tie-breaker.

Gabriel Chavez, fresh­man, Va­len­cia

Chavez was the No. 3-seeded player head­ing into the Foothill League fi­nals and played a tough match against Parker McBride in the semi­fi­nals. Vik­ings like Chavez kept sin­gles play in­ter­est­ing across the Foothill League this sea­son and will con­tinue to en­ter­tain through his var­sity ca­reer.

Dustin Kua, se­nior, Trin­ity

As Trin­ity Clas­si­cal Academy’s lone boys ten­nis rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Kua made the deep­est post­sea­son run of all Santa Clarita Val­ley sin­gles play­ers. He reached the CIF-South­ern Sec­tion Round of 16 be­fore los­ing to Colter Smith, the son of USC ten­nis coach Peter Smith. Kua will con­tinue his ten­nis ca­reer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Hon­or­able men­tion

Canyon – Jeremy Cook, se­nior Golden Val­ley – Dy­lan Yu, ju­nior Hart – Spencer Kline, ju­nior Sau­gus – Erin Pang, se­nior Va­len­cia – Ed­uardo Ce­deno, se­nior West Ranch – Hayden Rand, fresh­man

Cory Ru­bin/The Sig­nal (See ad­di­tional pho­tos on sig­

After win­ning the Foothill League in­di­vid­ual ti­tle, Parker McBride, as seen in this Sig­nal il­lus­tra­tion, is the 2018 All-SCV Boys Ten­nis Sin­gles Player of the Year.

File photo

West Ranch se­nior Parker McBride beat team­mate Davey Wood­land for the Foothill League in­di­vid­ual ti­tle this sea­son. He’ll con­tinue his play­ing ca­reer at Irvine Val­ley Col­lege.

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