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Tennis ! Super season ends Too soon for Cajon

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By Jon Gaede
BVN Staff

Walnut - Three years ago Lawrence Hampton made a promise to Cajon Athletic Director Rich Imbriani. “Give me a green light, let me build a quality Varsity Tennis program and I will bring you a San Andreas League Championship.”

Lawrence Hampton became interested in tennis through the Tennis Buddies program which supports and funds junior tennis throughout the country. Through his daughters, who played at Cajon, Hampton’s interest in coaching grew.

In just three short years after making the promise to Imbriani, Hampton made good on his promise.

The Cajon Girls Tennis team took 3rd place in the San Andreas league in 2002, 2nd in 2003 and this year they simply ran away from the competition going 18-0 in the 2004 regular season.

Hampton gives credit to Cajon A.D. Rich Imbriani, “I asked him for support and he gave it to me, he let me build the program my way and now we are the most dominant in the league.”

Hampton’s squad is extremely young, as freshman girls held 4 of the 9 starting varsity positions. Cajon’s number 1 doubles team of Allison Brooks and Paige Roddy were 45-2 in league competition.

Standout senior Leslie Horn was an impressive 43-2 in league singles play for the Cowboys. Junior Veronica Costello (team captain) also had a great year.

When asked about his rigorous training methods, Hampton relates, “I believe that success is built through a regimen of intense physical training. My athletes begin the season with push-ups, sit-ups, foot drills and bleacher runs for stamina.” Hampton’s players will do at least an hour of these exercises each session, before they touch a racquet. During the season, he will modify the exercises to 30 minutes to maintain stamina levels.

In the CIF second season, Hampton’s girls easily advanced past the first round. On Saturday, they met a tough Walnut team who beat them 11-7 to end their season. At 19-1 Hampton can’t for next year.

Hampton reminds us that tennis is not a sissy sport, as perceived by many of todays youth. He runs a football style pre-season which helps his athletes dominate when the opponent is fatigued. He sees potential scholarship opportunities for many of his players and he emphasizes tennis is a life long vehicle for physical fitness and success.

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