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Senior strives for court excellence

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Alexander Rurik has played tennis since the seventh grade and is now captain on the team.

With the 2019 tennis season in full swing, senior Alexander Rurik prepares for one final run at a Valley championship. After falling one match short from the title a year ago, Rurik’s appetite for the title has exponentially increased.

Rurik’s tennis career began in seventh grade. He participated because his friends were playing, and they helped him quickly become an excellent player.

Ever since then, Rurik has created many memories on the team, developed a love for the competition, and laughed the whole way. Of the numerous highlights in his career, the one that stands out most to Rurik came while playing with alumni Jaden Ventura, ’18, and winning the league doubles championship at Copper River Country Club. Ventura may have graduated, but still remembers the game clearly.

“By the time the final match started, the court lights had been on as we had played till the sun fell below the horizon,” Ventura said. “There were teams of players surrounding our court where we competed for the championship title. The pressure was on with every point played, but in reality, to me at least, it didn’t feel that intense. Alex and I played with the confidence we had gained over a successful season working together. In the end we were simply more prepared and it paid off.”

Rurik would never have made it this far without the support of his family.

“My biggest supporters are my parents and my grandparents,” Rurik said. “Their support means a lot to me, just them showing up. My mom played and instructed, so she’ll give me an occasional pointer here and there. She gets into it, and I feed off her intensity.”

In the following podcast, Logan Lewis talks to Alexander Rurik about his campus tennis career.

Rurik’s mother, Julie, played tennis for Clovis West in high school, and took second in the Valley championship with her doubles partner. She has taught tennis in Clovis and at Fresno City College, and loves teaming up with her husband to try and beat him on the courts.

“This year, he’s improved in his understanding and knowledge of the game, strategy and ball placement, his strength and power, as well as consistency,” Julie said. “I see a big improvement in his serve this year.”

One player can greatly affect a match, but the win is earned as a team. Sophomore Kyle Clem is playing his second year of high school tennis, and admires Rurik’s boldness on the court, as well as his positive attitude.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Rurik serves as ASB president and editor-in-chief for The Feather Online.

“I love playing with Alex mostly because of his competitive spirit while playing and also his confidence he always exhibits in the court,” Clem said. “No matter what the score is or how he’s been playing, Alex always believes that he’s only two good points away from getting right back into the game.”

Clem is on The Feather team with Rurik but its the leadership on the court which inspires Clem.

“I think that Alex is able to provide a strong leadership presence to the team and also constant words of encouragement during the matches,” Clem continued. “Alex also provides a phenomenal top player to the singles rotation and provides the coaches with a lot of flexibility when figuring out who will play doubles due to the fact he’s willing to play wherever is needed.”

In addition to playing tennis, Rurik leads the student body as the ASB President, and has been a member of The Feather for six years, and editor-in-chief for two.

“I joined because my mom made me freshman year and gave me the choice to leave after I did one year, but I enjoyed it and wanted to stay,” Rurik said. “I’ve learned so much over the four years and I never would have imagined it. It’s opened up so many doors and opportunities for me.”

Rurik’s articles can be found on his Feather profile page.

For more articles read Sports Records Series: Basketball and Coach returns to lead team, looks to expand golf season.

Logan Lewis can be reached via email and Twitter @logan6300.

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