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Crescenta Valley High doubles players find success forged on bedrock of friendship

Crescenta Valley doubles team of Jackie Dilanchyan and Alexa Gregorian came together to form dynamic duo that captured a Pacific League championship.

January 03, 2014|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Tim Berger Staff…)

It was a pairing that might never have happened.

When Alexa Gregorian began her senior season for the Crescenta Valley High girls' tennis team, she came in as a successful singles player, advancing to the Pacific League tournament semifinals as a junior.

"I had played singles, so I just expected that I was going to be playing singles my senior year," Gregorian said. "I had always been a singles player and I liked playing singles."

Jackie Dilanchyan started her final season with the Falcons as a strong doubles competitor, having teamed up with partner Viktoriya Shumakova a year earlier to earn a spot in the league doubles semifinals.

"I had lost my partner [to graduation], so I had no idea who I was going to be paired up with for my last season," Dilanchyan said. "I just had to wait and see."

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Being self-proclaimed "best friends" Dilanchyan and Gregorian had talked about how much fun it would be if the two of them teamed up to play doubles for the Falcons. However, they figured it would likely never take place.

But then Dilanchyan took the initiative.

"I went to our coach and told him that since I lost my doubles partner, and this being my senior year, and since he was looking for someone to get paired with me, why not have Alexa and I play together," Dilanchyan said. "We thought it would be a good idea and we would love to play together.

"At first he was totally against it. There was no way he was taking Alexa out of singles. So, I really tried to convince him that we would make a good team and that he should give it a try."

Crescenta Valley Coach Sam Hyun knew that Gregorian had the talent to stand alone as a singles player. So, as the season began, Gregorian was in the lineup as a singles player for the Falcons.

"Alexa has a lot of power, so I wasn't sure if Jackie was the right person to play with her," Hyun said. "But then Alexa came to me and told me that although she likes playing singles, she really wanted to play doubles with Jackie. So, I agreed to put them together and see what would happen."

The decision would pay off substantially, not only for the Falcons but for Dilanchyan and Gregorian. The formidable duo, on bedrock of friendship, turned in a successful season that included slicing through league competition, capturing a Pacific League doubles championship, earning a trip to the CIF Southern Section Individuals Tournament and notching a victory in the postseason individual event.

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