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Trojans Hike makes district debut
TACOMA The future is looking bright for Olympics Justin Hike.
The Trojan boys singles sensation had a strong run at last falls 3A Olympic League tournament, claiming the No. 2 seed to the West Central District III tourney, which began Tuesday at Sprinker Recreation Center.
And while Hike went 1-2 and was eliminated on the first day, the sophomore still gained quite a lot.
Every time you play you take a step forward, Oly coach Don Patraw said. Coming to districts this year, he knows the players that will be here in the future.
And being just a sophomore himself, that future is looking pretty bright.
In the opening match, Hike fell to North Thurstons Matt Huynh in 6-2 straight sets. Hike rebounded with his first district win however, topping Auburn-Riversides Marcus Marino in 6-1 straight sets. He then had the toughest of consolation draws, taking on ARs No. 1 singles threat, Alex VanDerschelden. And while VanDerschelden won 6-2, 6-1, Hike was in the match throughout.
He played pretty well, Patraw said of the final match for Hike. The kid he was playing was kind of cocky. You dont play around. Thats just not good sportsmanship.
Hike said just getting one win should help greatly looking to next season.
Yeah, just that I won pretty good, he said. Its a little bit of confidence for next year.
Hike has the ability and skill to hang with the districts big boys, but rather still needs to work more on his mental game, Patraw said.
Its just staying tough throughout the match; staying mentally strong when youre playing from behind, Patraw said. Its something were going to have to work on.
That said, Hikes coach was very pleased with the poise he showed at the district tourney.
I tell him, You played well, Patraw said. He didnt have any outlashes, any meltdowns. It was a strong mental game for him.
A club player, Hike said he doesnt tend to feel the layoff that some athletes have in waiting the nearly six months between the two tournaments.
It helps a lot, Hike said. You can just focus on one sport. You can just focus on all your strokes and just get better. I just get to practice the whole time.
Patraw said the experience of coming to the tournament itself also should help boost his game.
I think a lot, he said. A lot of kids when theyre freshman and sophomores think theyre the big fish at the school. Then they come up here and theres some real big fish, or sharks.
Hike agreed, saying now its just practice, practice, practice until next season arrives.
For sure. Now its just practice all summer up until next year, he said.
And being a club player, Patraw is excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.
Hes just going to get stronger and better, Patraw said. Hell continue playing at the club. Thats not going to hurt too much. Thats where the program is developed.