CHS girls’ tennis earns Palomares League titles

Claremont High School junior Sydney La serves against her Glendora opponent during the first set of Friday’s Palomares League Singles Championships on court 25 at the Claremont Club on Friday, October 29. The junior defeated Steffanie Lam, 6-3 and 7-6 (5). Sydney will go on to play in the upcoming CIF Individual Championships on November 22 and will do so as the number seeded player from the Palomares League. COURIER photo/Andrew Alonzo

by Andrew Alonzo |

At the Claremont Club on Friday, October 29, two singles players and three doubles teams from the Claremont High School girls’ varsity tennis team participated in the Palomares League tennis championships, and earned themselves two league titles in the process — one for singles play and one for doubles play.

Of the ten players who participated across Friday’s championships, five finalists — senior Elizabeth Gonzalez, junior Sydney La, and sophomores Martina De Nigris, Irma Garcia and Camila Fernandez — have qualified for the CIF Individual Championships, scheduled to begin on November 22.

On the singles side, Claremont junior Sydney La, the younger sister of Goldie La, created her own story on Friday when she defeated Glendora High School’s Steffanie Lam, 6-3 and 7-6 (5), on court 25, earning herself and the school a league singles championship. Sydney’s older sister, Goldie, who graduated last year, was the Palomares League singles champion from 2017 through 2019 and the spring of 2021, when COVID rescheduled the season.

Sydney will go on to play in the upcoming CIF Individual Championships and will do so as the number one seeded player from the Palomares League. Despite her loss, Glendora’s Steffanie Lam, too, will go to the upcoming CIF tournament.

In the Flight B singles draw final, junior Angelina Alkhouri played hard but, sadly, lost to Ayala High School’s Lilyanna Saupan, 6-3, 1-6, and 10-5 in the final set of the game on court 22.

On the doubles side, Claremont was always guaranteed a title as they had teammates playing against one another for the Palomares League championship.

On court 17, sophomores, Martina De Nigris and Irma Garcia, beat their teammates, senior Elizabeth Gonzalez and sophomore Camila Fernandez, 6-4, 5-7 and 6-4 across three sets to take the Palomares League doubles championships. Although the sophomores shattered the perfect season Gonzalez and Fernandez had going, both teams will go on to play in the CIF Team Championships on Wednesday, November 3.

Playing the third-place playoff final were freshmen Delila Vargas and sophomore Kaili Hernandez, who fell to Bonita’s senior duo, Kasey Hook and Sarah Mesdjian — who were also the No. 2 seed of the tournament — 6-4 and 6-2. Despite their loss, Vargas and Hernandez will go in the upcoming CIF Doubles Tournament as alternates.

For the Flight B doubles draw final, senior Alyssa Miao and sophomore Paige Ruffner snagged a victory after they defeated their Alta Loma opponents, 6-1 and 6-2.

Next Wednesday, the Wolfpack will return home to host the CIF Team Championships with draws scheduled for Monday.

On Wednesday, October 27, the Claremont hosted the Palomares League CIF prelims where the Pack built upon its impeccable regular season.

Though Wednesday’s postseason rules meant that each round was a best-of-three set series, Claremont qualified two doubles teams, one singles player and one third place consolation player for Friday’s finals at the Claremont Club.

In doubles, senior Elizabeth Gonzalez and sophomore Camila Fernandez continued their perfect season and will be playing in the finals against teammates, sophomores Martina De Nigris and Irma Garcia. In singles, CHS junior Sydney La will play Glendora High School’s Steffanie Lam.

De Nigris and Garcia won their quarterfinals sets, 6-1, 6-1, against Alta Loma High School. In the semi-finals, the pair dropped their first set 3-6 against Bonita, but rallied back in the following sets, winning 6-2, 6-2.

Gonzalez and Fernandez won their quarterfinals match, 6-1, 6-1 against Bonita; and 6-1, 6-3 in the semi-finals versus their teammates, freshman Delila Vargas and sophomore Kaili Hernandez.

The Vargas and Hernandez duo won their quarterfinals match against Ayala, 7-6 (1) and 6-2 on Wednesday and will play for third place on Friday against Bonita’s senior duo Kassandra Hook and Sarah Mesdjian.

In Flight B for the doubles, senior Alyssa Miao and sophomore Paige Ruffner won their quarterfinals match, which was just one set that was a best of eight game, 8-7 (0) against their Ayala opponents. The duo then thwarted Alta Lom High School in a best of three sets semi-final, taking the first two sets 6-0 and 7-6 (4).

The Pack’s junior, Sydney La had a great day, not dropping a single set. She won her quarterfinals sets, 6-0, 6-1, versus Bonita senior Anh Nguyen. In the semifinals, La downed Ayala High School’s Kaylene Guzman 6-2, 6-3, booking her place in Friday’s finals.

In Flight B for singles, junior Angelina Alkhouri swept her quarterfinals set against Ayala’s Rebecca Erlandson 8-0 before defeating Alta Loma’s Sophie Rasin, 7-5 and 6-4 across a best of three set series in the semis.

Unfortunately for CHS junior Kyriaki Papadatos, she had a rough day, bowing out in the quarterfinals versus Alta Loma High School senior Sydney O’Neill, 4-6 and 4-6. She had a great showing in the consolation semi-finals, winning her first set 6-3 against Braves senior Ivonne Park. And while she piled on the pressure against Park in the following sets, Park stepped up and took the final sets.




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