By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Faced with adversity, they rose to the occasion and became champions. Despite losing Garrett Auproux for the season due to injury, the Burroughs boys tennis team completed an undefeated run and captured their first outright league championship since 2008 and their third title in four years. The Indians shared the title with Arcadia in 2010 and 2011.
Auproux, the two-time defending league champion in singles play, broke his leg at a junior tournament a month ago.
Burroughs (13-0, 12-0) stayed strong and never wavered. Led by the tremendous singles play of Michael Whelan, Sawyer Patterson and Calvin Fox as well as the superb play of number one doubles team of Kevin Hoang and Wen Yao Lin, the Indians brought the title back home.
“It’s really exciting because we had issues early in the season. Our number one was out so basically the mentality I tried to put on the players was to win this league for Garrett,” Fox said. “We have a great team and everyone here is talented. I knew we could pull it off for him.”
“Singles is really important for our team. It’s a group effort,” Whelan added. “Having won league it makes me feel like I contributed to the whole team.”
After defeating powerful Viewpoint in its opening match of the year, Burroughs marched along unscathed in the Pacific League defeating Arcadia, 11-7, in its first meeting and 12-6 this past Tuesday.
“It means a lot. It’s our last year and it’s the first time winning a championship as a team,” Yao Lin said. “We don’t get to share the title with anybody else so it feels great.”
It was only fitting that Auproux brought out the line-up card on crutches prior to the match against the Apaches on Tuesday. His mere presence inspired his teammates to clinch the title.
“Garrett has been a big supporter of our team. After losing Garrett, we were worried about losing the league. But we worked hard and did it,” said Yao Lin, who will be favored with Hoang to win the Pacific League doubles championship next week at Pasadena High School.
Hoang and Yao Lin were undefeated in matches this year as was Patterson. The Indians will be looking to capture both singles and doubles titles next week.
League prelims will begin on Monday with league finals set for Wednesday.
Whelan will team with Fox, his step-brother, to play doubles and potentially meet Hoang and Yao Lin in the finals. Patterson will attempt to continue the winning ways in singles play set forth by Auproux the past two seasons.
Burroughs will begin the CIF playoffs the week of May 6 and host a first-round match. Last year the Indians lost in the semi-finals of Division II. This year they will play in Division I and battle against the best in Southern California.
“We have a real strong singles team and our number one doubles is very strong. We are in division one this year so it will be tough,” Burroughs coach Roy Bernhardt said. “But we are looking forward to it.”