Valencia alumnus and current University of California, Santa Cruz tennis player Chad LeDuff finished in second place at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Championships in Rome, Georgia three weeks ago.
LeDuff entered as the No. 2 seed in the Division 3 Men’s Singles tournament, dropping just two games in the opening round against Joshua Bode of Concordia University, Texas.
The UCSC senior then defeated Alan Dubrovskiy of Hobart College 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the final.
In the championship round, LeDuff won the first set 6-2 against Boris Sorkin of Tufts University, but fell 4-6 and 2-6 in the final two sets.
One of LeDuff’s high school coaches at Valencia, Jen Azevedo, was able to watch the finals match and came away extremely proud of her former player.
“We were fortunate enough to get to watch Chad play that finals match online,” Azevedo said. “He has always been such an amazing competitor and seeing him reach these heights with his tennis is so fulfilling.”
After the tournament, LeDuff was honored with the James O’Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Award, which is given to players who exemplify the spirit of college tennis.
“To become their best and exhibit good sportsmanship, that’s what’s the best,” said Valencia coach Annie Kellogg, who also coached LeDuff in high school. “It’s very exciting for sure as it hasn’t happened very much in the Santa Clarita Valley.”
“Chad truly embodies the idea of a gentleman in sport and there is no one you want to cheer for more,” Azevedo added.
While Azevedo certainly made an impact on LeDuff during his time at Valencia, she doesn’t want the recognition.
She is just happy to have had the opportunity to coach him.
“I don’t take any credit for the amazing things Chad has accomplished,” she said. “I am simply honored to have been part of his journey to such great heights.”