Gaona in the Game: Parikh no ordinary freshman on court

2013-04-26T00:00:00Z Gaona in the Game: Parikh no ordinary freshman on courtDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star
April 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Salpointe Catholic's Yash Parikh is a freshman in high school years.

In tennis years, he's far beyond that.

"He's got all the shots," Salpointe coach John Condes said. "Sometimes when freshmen come in, they have one or two big shots and that's enough to get them through, but he's got all the shots."

Parikh is one of just two freshmen left in the Division I boys singles tournament, which continues with today's quarterfinals.

Parikh, the No. 4 seed, will face fifth-seeded Nick Cunningham of Goodyear Millennium at 3:30 p.m. at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale. Cunningham, a junior, was a quarterfinalist last year and a semifinalist the year before that.

But Parikh's teammates don't think that matters.

Seniors Tyler Linscott and Andrew Dunn, who are the No. 1 duo in the doubles tournament, wouldn't be surprised to see him win the state title.

"It was no big deal him coming in and being the best right away," Dunn said. "We were expecting him to come in and be better than both of us. In tennis years, he's older than us."

Parikh, who is in the top 50 nationally and already has interest from 10 colleges, would be the first Lancer to win a singles championship since 2008.

"They have a lot of state championships so I want to keep that going," Parikh said.

Parikh, 14, was born in Minnesota and lived in the northeast before his family moved to Tucson when he was 6. Shortly after that, his parents wanted him to play a sport. After a few months spent playing golf, Parikh took on tennis.

"It's tough, but I love the grind," Parikh said. "Winning is fun."

He fit in with the Lancers right away, in part because he is already well known. It helped that, before the season started, Parikh won the High School Invitational by beating top-seeded Cienega senior Jared Aldor twice.

Parikh is confident heading into today's match. With a win, he'd have a spot in the semifinals on Saturday and then possibly a spot in the finals that afternoon. While an individual title would be nice, he knows this is only the beginning.

"High school tennis is probably the least of my concerns," Parikh said. "I want to play college and go as far as I can."

Denson gets attention from Crimson Tide

Salpointe Catholic junior wide receiver Cameron Denson, who verbally committed to play for the Arizona Wildcats in January, got a visit from Alabama secondary coach Greg Brown on Wednesday.

Brown, a former UA assistant, told Denson the Crimson Tide respects his commitment but, if he changes his mind, they want him. Alabama has Denson listed as its No. 3 receiver prospect, according to Salpointe coach Dennis Bene.

Four more locals sign

• Catalina Foothills baseball player Tyler Alev signed with Santa Clara. He is batting .366 with 21 RBIs.

• Former Tanque Verde girls volleyball player Katie Feemster, now at Central Arizona, signed with Troy. Feemster, a middle blocker, was 13th in the NJCAA in blocks per set.

• Ironwood Ridge boys soccer player Zach Davis signed with Division II Colorado State University-Pueblo. He was a four-year starter, three-year captain.

• Empire boys basketball player Garrett Hacker became the first Raven to earn a full ride when he signed with Tohono O'odham CC.

Bulldogs forfeit state tennis matches

Douglas' boys and girls tennis teams both earned No. 8 seeds and first-round home matches in the Division III state tournament. However, both teams forfeited unexpectedly.

Morenci's boys team, which was on its way to play Douglas on Tuesday, found out when it was in St. David. The Chandler Prep girls team, which was scheduled to play at Douglas on Wednesday, also found out Tuesday.

Douglas officials were not available for comment, but the athletic directors from both Morenci and Chandler Prep said they were told the Bulldogs didn't enter their rosters online on time per Arizona Interscholastic Association rules.

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at dgaona@azstarnet.com or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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