By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
What is a season without a little adversity?
To achieve its goal of becoming Pacific League champions for the first time since 2011, the Burroughs boys’ tennis team will have to overcome the season-ending loss of Garrett Auproux, the two-time defending league champion in singles play. Auproux suffered a broken leg in a recent junior tournament in Palm Springs.
Auproux was the catalyst for an Indians squad that reached the CIF Southern Section Division II semifinals the last two seasons. With Auproux out, Burroughs will turn to senior captain Kevin Hoang to lead them to their desired destination.
“Of course we are all concerned. And we all wish him the best of luck,” Hoang said. “We tried to not let it get to us so much but it is a tough loss. But I’m sure we will get through it.”
Hoang, 18, is a four-year letterman who plays alongside partner Wen Yao Lin to form the Indians’ number one doubles team. Auproux was the inspirational leader for JBHS delivering pre-game speeches to get his team fired up for its matches. Now Hoang will take the lead role to motivate his teammates.
“He gave us pep talks before and we are going to miss that. I’m going to have to take that role. Now I get to talk to the team and pump them up kind of,” said Hoang after Burroughs defeated Hoover, 13-5, a few weeks back. “I tried today. I think it worked.”
Senior Michael Whelan, junior Calvin Fox and sophomore Sawyer Patterson will fill in for Auproux in singles action. Rounding out the doubles teams are Steve Shin and Eduardo Ilano and partners Jacob Kim and Elliott Lagman.
Hoang, a mild-mannered young man with a strong tennis game, said the team will rally around each other and step up in Auproux’s absence. As captain, it all starts with Hoang and trickles down to the rest of the team.
“I’ve known him since he was a little guy in my tennis camps. He is a very easy going guy,” said Burroughs Coach Roy Bernhardt. “He is a super sport. He’s always here. He’s always at practice. Always doing workouts.”
The loss of Auproux comes during a year when Burroughs was moved up to Division one. Hoang feels the team will be fine because of their experience as well as team camaraderie.
“We are all really close because most of the people came back from last year,” Hoang said. “Our main goal is to win the league this year and I think we can do it. We are really strong this year.”
Burroughs is currently undefeated in league at 6-0 after defeating Burbank, 12-6.
“They will do fine. They feel bad for him (Auproux) but they know they are a strong team,” Bernhardt added.
Burroughs is half way to re-claiming the league title. Adversity always brings out the best in a champion.