Jeffrey Gelman is a native Hawaiian. He lettered in tennis at Kealakehe High School before graduating in 2012. While at KHS, he finished third in the state in doubles play. (Courtesy of Saddleback Athletics)
The Saddleback Gauchos had the home court advantage in the the three-day Orange Empire Conference tournament April 13-15. The competition included some of the best players from Cypress College, Riverside City College, Irvine Valley College, Fullerton College, and Orange Coast Community College.
Coach Bud Davis said the Gauchos are now ranked third in the league and the No. 1 and No 2 teams in the south are Cypress and IVC.
Saddleback sophomore Riku Goto, from Japan, beat out his sophomore opponent Castillo from Irvine Valley College in his match to advance to the next round on Thursday. Goto won his match against Kyle of Cypress College.
Saddleback sophomore Jeffrey Gelman, who has been playing tennis for 12 years, beat sophomore Van Os from Riverside City College to advance in his first match.
“I lost the first set 2-6, the second set he won 6-2 then went on to win the super tiebreaker 10-3,”Gelman said.
Gelman went on to beat OCC’s Brandon Barr on Friday.
Goto/Gelman, seeded tenth and ninth respectively, were in great form as they won their match and advanced in the doubles division, but in the end lost their match to Cypress.
Freshman Andrew Tran won his match against his freshman opponent Politiek from Irvine Valley, lost his last match to De Muling of Irvine Valley College.
Sophomore Michael Park advanced to the next round after his win against Mirecki of Irvine Valley College. He lost his next match to Mirecki of Irvine Valley college
Spencer Crellin has been playing tennis for six years. The Junior from Fullerton College came to the tournament to win for the Hornets. When asked whether he plays singles or doubles, he replied “I play both”. He and his doubles partner Sophomore Adrian Ternora lost their match.
Freshman Jared Potvin traveled from Riverside City College with his team to Saddleback hoping for a win.
He lost his singles match 6-2 2-6 3-4, but felt it was worthwhile.
“I played pretty good,” Potvin said. “It was a close match.”
IVC won the state championship the last two years, and lost the finals three years ago, Davis said.
“Cypress is ahead of us, we beat the champions from the North Ventura the other day and then we beat San Diego City which are the champions from the south,” Davis added, “So we qualified for dual team playoffs after we beat Ventura, we’re going to play IVC in the semifinals because whoever wins in the south goes to play the winner in the north in the state championship in 2 weeks.”
Davis heads up Men’s Tennis at Saddleback College. His 43 years of experience have proven to be an advantage to the Saddleback team. He has also been teaching at the college for the past eight years.
“I don’t compete anymore, I stopped competing when I was 50 years old,” Davis said.
Full results from the OEC tournament are available on the division’s website.
IVC and Cypress, the top two teams in the conference, each had five players in singles and three doubles teams. Riverside also had three doubles teams on Day 1.
Saddleback and IVC play again in the SoCal Regional Championship semifinals on Tuesday at IVC at 1 p.m.