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Vaqueros think big

With strong singles lineup, GCC looks to challenge for conference title.

February 03, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

One of the major strengths in recent seasons for the Glendale Community College men's tennis program was having a bona fide No. 1 singles player on board to solidify its lineup.

Among those who have attacked the net and returned powerful backhand and forehand shots with excellence for the Vaqueros were Dylan Kim, Rony Yeghnazary and Alex Sarkissian. All competed in the state tournament, with Kim and Sarkissian each winning a championship.

Now, Trevor Campbell will look to take his place in the pantheon of elite singles players for Glendale college, which opened its season Thursday with a nonconference road match against Fullerton College.

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Sarkissian went undefeated in singles last season, going 35-0 and not losing a set. Campbell also teamed with Sarkissian, who now attends Pepperdine University, in doubles and sometimes got to watch Sarkissian play singles last season.

"I had a chance to watch him play a lot and I've since learned to play within myself," said Campbell, a Burroughs High graduate and former All-Area Boys' Singles as well as Doubles Player of the Year honoree. "I want to do the same things that he did and I know that's got to be by staying patient and believing in myself."

Campbell won't be the only one on board looking to steer the Vaqueros to or near the top of the Western State Conference. They finished 9-9, 5-3 in conference for second place behind Ventura last season.

Glendale college Coach Bob MacKay, whose squad lost to top-seeded Cypress in the opening round of the Southern California Regionals, will field a 10-member team that will include five returners.

MacKay said Campbell will lead the way for the Vaqueros in their quest to return to the regionals.

"You don't get the high-caliber level players like Alex very often," MacKay said. "It's a tough act for someone to follow after the kind of year Alex had.

"With Trevor, he's certainly not a bad No. 1. He's as good as a lot of the other No. 1 players we've had here. I think Trevor will be outstanding again. He can battle for the conference individual title and move on to state."

Grayson Frazier, a La Cañada graduate and former All-Area Doubles Player of the Year, Crescenta Valley graduate Eric Khanlarian, Hoover graduate Andre Ratavousian and Chris Simpson will also be back to provide the Vaqueros with additional depth and experience.

They will be joined by freshmen Ejmin Mehranian, a Hoover graduate, Carlos Ruiz, Rick Ivynian, Stephen Joharry and Francisco Ochoa-Garcia.

"I like the depth that we have," said MacKay, who took over the program in 2003. "With some of the teams I've had here, we've had a lot of changes in the lineup and we'll have that again with people battling.

"With our freshmen, we'll see how things pan out. The cream always rises to the top. We will be playing a tough schedule again. I think we will be in a lot of our conference matches."

Glendale college will begin conference competition at home Feb. 23 against Bakersfield. The Vaqueros will meet Ventura on March 1 at Ventura before hosting it at home March 22.

In addition to their conference matches, the Vaqueros will compete in a handful of nonconference contests.

The Vaqueros close out the regular season April 6 with a nonconference home match against Victor Valley.

The conference tournament will take place April 13-14 in Ventura. The prestigious Ojai Invitational will be held April 26-29.

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