JUNIOR SPOTLIGHT: Ian Freer
Ian Freer knew the CIF-Southern Section Individual Championships singles draw was missing a few of SoCal’s top players, including winners of the past two Ojai Boys’ Interscholastic singles titles from Irvine powerhouses Woodbridge and University in Stefan Dostanic and Aditya Gupta, respectively.
But that did nothing to diminish the fact that the South Pasadena resident became the first St. Francis High School (La Canada Flintridge) player to win the CIF-Southern Section Individual Singles Championship last week at the Seal Beach Tennis Center.
“I saw the draw and knew if I played well that I could win it,” said Freer, who did not drop a set in his four matches and beat Tyler Pham of Corona del Mar in the final, 6-2, 6-3. “I was excited with the opportunity and knew it was doable, but I definitely had to play well to win.”
Asked about the level of the match, and Freer said he left his best tennis of the tournament for the final. “I knew Kyle was playing well, and the type of guy who can play a bunch of balls.”
The CIF title was a first for longtime St. Francis Coach Ron Zambrano. “I was so glad to be the first to get this title for Coach, and I had a lot of supporters and alums and school faculty who came out to watch me, so that was nice,” said Freer, who was a quarterfinalist at The Ojai in April.
It was a pretty good week for Freer, who two days after the final attended graduation and walked with his class to receive his diploma.
It’s on to Claremont Mudd-Scripps for Freer, who will play Division III for one of the nation’s top programs run by Paul Settles. The Stags recently finished runners-up at the NCAA Championships.
“I’ve known Coach Settles forever and we’ve played Father and Son against each other since I was like 12,” Freer said. “I’ve gotten to know him pretty well.”
Freer’s father Brad played Division III tennis at Connecticut College and his older brother Jack plays at Whitman College, another Division III school. “I guess you could say we are a big Division III family,” said Freer, who plans to major in economics.
Freer gave credit to his longtime personal coaches Pierre Mareschal and Sam Tadevosian. He will miss next month’s SCTA Junior Sectionals as he will be traveling and playing tournaments for three weeks in France with some buddies. “I’m hoping to get in and to play my first Kalamazoo,” he said of plans for later in the summer.
In the CIF-SS doubles final, Palos Verdes High’s Sean Holt and Kai Brady pulled off the Ojai-CIF-SS double as they captured the title beating Sam Landeau and David Arkow of Harvard-Westlake, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, to win both Ojai and CIF in the same season.