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Tennis Wilson

CIF Boys’ Tennis: Wilson Wins First CIF Tennis Championship in School History

The562’s coverage of Long Beach tennis is sponsored by the Long Beach State Tennis Boosters.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

It’s not easy to make history at a school that was founded nearly a century ago, especially one with the athletic history that Long Beach Wilson High School can boast. But the Bruins boys’ tennis team just did something that’s never happened at Wilson, claiming the school’s first ever CIF championship in tennis by defeating Brea Olinda, 12-6, on Friday afternoon at the Claremont Club.

“I’m really happy for the boys that they can be a part of that, and have something like that to look back on,” said Wilson head coach Nick Medina of his team making history. “I know they deserve it. They worked really hard, they’re really talented, and I think it’s a testament to our captain, Zane Driskill. I told him to get 14 people to all go in the same direction–that’s not an easy thing. They’re so bought into each other and they love each other, and I think that’s the thing that I’m most proud of. They really are a team, and I think that’s probably why we won.”

Wilson’s historic championship continues an impressive run for Long Beach tennis in the era of competitive equity. The Millikan boys won this same CIF title in 2021, the Poly girls were champs in 2022, and now the Wilson boys have claimed a gold plaque in 2023 as CIF-SS Division 4 champions.


Doubles once again proved to be the key for the Bruins as they went an impressive 9-0 in those matches. Wilson and Brea Olinda were tied, 3-3, after the first round as the Wildcats swept the first round of singles, but Wilson was able to defend its advantage in the pairs while also making inroads on the singles courts.

A key contributor in singles was No. 1 player Doug Smith, who won his next two sets to earn valuable points for his team. The sophomore won those points by scores of 6-3 and 6-0.

“We kind of knew the game plan was to take all of the doubles and get whatever we could in singles, and the other team had really, really good singles players,” Medina explained. “So for Doug to win two was awesome.”

The Bruins picked up a pair of singles wins in round two, as sophomore Leo Bauch earned a 6-3 win. That gave Wilson an 8-4 lead going into the final rotation. The Bruins needed just two wins to clinch, but won four of those final six sets to comfortably close out the win.

Medina credited his top doubles team of Driskill, the team’s senior captain, as well as sophomore partner Mateo Matta, for setting the tone this season for the Bruins.

“They've been so steady all year,” said Medina of his top pair. “You don't ever count ahead, but you already know what they can give you, and you feel really confident in counting on their sets. And obviously, all of our doubles won all their sets today, so they all did fantastic.”

The No. 2 doubles team of Luke Emigh and Jake Paiva came back from down 0-3 in their final match to claim the clinching point for the Bruins. Wilson's No. 3 pair of ninth graders Daniel Gerstner and Filip Svrdlan won their three matches by scores of 6-0, 6-3, 6-3.

Sophomore Cash Tuck was the other singles player in the lineup for the Bruins on Friday, and Medina wanted to credit junior Stratton Keele, sophomore Allen Park, and seniors Ulises Kuijken-Lewis and Finnegan Killian, who each won sets earlier in the postseason. Senior leader Jack Donovan broke his arm prior to the season and was unable to compete, but still aided the Bruins as an assistant coach and manager throughout the season.

Impressively, of Wilson’s six doubles players, Driskill is the lone upperclassman. He’s joined by three freshmen and two sophomores, foretelling a bright future for Wilson tennis over the next few years.

And when those youngsters return next season, for the first time ever, Wilson Tennis can be referred to as a defending CIF champion.

Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.