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Falcons take home national tennis title

CARMEL VALLEY — Competing against some of the top players in the country, the Torrey Pines High School tennis team won the National High School Tennis All-American Team Invitational, a three-day tournament held March 20 through 22 at Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach.

“We had a great time,” said John Delille, who has coached the team for the past two seasons. “The effort of the team was crazy. They were like a bunch of little kids running around afterward. They did very well.”

The event featured 16 teams — half from California and the other eight from states such as New York, Texas and Hawaii.

“They usually invite the teams that are doing well in their division, with the theory to have the best players competing against one another,” Delille said. “We’ve got some pretty big horses.

“The atmosphere is crazy,” he added. “The players really try to get inside your head. It’s almost like a college tournament.

“They always like to have a San Diego team, and it’s usually the one that won CIF,” Delille said.

Although Rancho Bernardo High currently holds that title, the team was unable to attend so their coach suggested the Falcons, who lost to RB in last year’s CIF championship match.

The Falcons went into the final day of singles play in Newport Beach up 2-1.

“My number two singles guy loses his first match, so now its tied 2-2,” Delille said. “Then I’m walking around and I notice all my guys are behind. I don’t usually see that so I was a little worried. But the guys were really scrambling.”

Jacob Brumm and Daniel De La Torre both came from behind to put the second-seeded Falcons up 4-2.

“So all we needed was one more win but all the other guys were still down,” Delille said. “So I’m rooting them on and my number six guy, who hasn’t played singles, pulled it off.”

For his efforts, that player, Sreeganesh Manoharan, earned the coach’s Pepto Bismol Award, Delille said.

“The other two guys who were down, I had written them off,” Delille said. “One was down 4-0. But they really put the pedal to the metal.

“Max (Liu) was cramping on the court and I told him to stop,” he added. “But he came back. So did Raul De La Torre. … I was proud that they could stay focused, especially considering how crazy and distracting the atmosphere was.”

Torrey Pines defeated Menlo Park, the defending champions, 7-2 to win the invitational, something the Falcons last did in 2006.

In matches earlier in the tournament, the Falcons defeated Corona del Mar High 8-0 and a “very tough” Los Alamitos team, the third seed that Delille describes as “loaded with talent.”

They also won two out of three doubles matches against Menlo Park.

Jacob Brumm and Charlie Pei were named to the all-tournament team.

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