Oakmont player reaches top in SFL tennis

Kyle Coates knocks off rival to win league singles title
By: Jennifer Gong, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Persistence is a key to success in any endeavor and it was on full display on the hard courts at Oakmont High School. Junior tennis player Kyle Coates reached the finals of the Sierra Foothill League singles competition in both his freshman and sophomore years, but this year, he captured the crown. Coates, who knocked off the player who beat him last year, Del Oro sophomore Brett Bacharach, in the final, knew it was just a matter of time before he got over the top. In the early rounds of this year’s league singles tourney, Coates easily handled Charlie Faes of Roseville and Woodcreek’s Eric Renslo. He lost his first set of the day to Granite Bay’s number one singles player, Brad Wong, in the semifinals. He promptly bounced back from the minor setback and took the game by winning sets two and three 6-3, 6-1. In the championship match, Coates and Bacharach were evenly matched and the first set was intensely close, with Coates taking it 7-5. The second set was just as competitive, but Kyle was determined to keep it a short game and defeated Bacharach 6-3 earning the SFL singles title. “It was the most focused I’ve seen Kyle play,” said Oakmont coach Kevin Chorjel. “He was very patient and went right after Brett at the proper time and was able to come out victorious because of his patience.” To gain the amount of tennis skill Coates has takes years of training. He has been playing competitively for seven years, but started at the age of five. Currently, Kyle plays four to five times a week with occasional weekend tournaments. On top of that, you can catch him in the gym lifting weights three times a week. Although it is evident that he is putting in a huge amount of time to improving his game, he is convinced that it is the quality of his work that brings success. “It’s not the hours you put in, it’s what you put in the hours,” Coates said. “It was a great accomplishment (the league title) and I’m proud that I won.” Coates is more than just a tennis player. He carries this positive, hard-working attitude into the classroom, where he is an honors student, with his favorite subject being history, specifically military history. He is a top student in the class of 2011 at Oakmont and was recently awarded the gold medal in the junior academic merit awards. Outside of school and tennis, Kyle enjoys riding and racing motorcycles, is involved in his high school’s drama program, and like many other teenage guys, plays Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. For those who are C.O.D. savvy, he currently has a kill/death ratio of 1.23 and has logged in over 50 hours of play time. As far as the future goes, Kyle intends to continue his tennis career and play in college. He would like to major in business administration and his ideal school would be a small, private university in Southern California, as long as he does not have to give up his first love. “My first priority is that I can play on their tennis team,” Coates said. Coates won his first two matches at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II tournament Thursday and was into the semifinals Friday, with Bacharach looming on the other side of the draw. “If he continues to play with patience and use his power when the time is right, there is no reason that he cannot prevail,” Chorjel said.