Phuc Huynh admitted Wednesday that his body shape is a bit different than three years ago.
“I was a lot smaller and chubbier then,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve been training really hard the last three years to play singles at states and to try and help my team win state championships.”
The ‘Iolani senior tennis player sewed up his third ILH singles championship Wednesday at Central Oahu Regional Park with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Andrew Yip of Kamehameha. In a little more than two weeks, he’ll be trying to add a second state singles crown to the one he won as a sophomore. The Raiders as a team are also trying for a repeat state title.
“We really want that state championship and I really want this last one (singles) because I had a rough year last year,” Huynh said.
Back when he was less muscular in his freshman season of 2015, Huynh teamed with Jordan Azuma to take both the ILH and state doubles championships.
Recently, Huynh made his college commitment by accepting a scholarship to the University of San Francisco.
“I met the USF coach at Kalamazoo (Mich.) at one of the biggest tournaments for 18 and under,” Huynh said. “He seemed really excited to have me play for them. I wanted to be in a place where I can play at a high enough spot and I can hope to get better and maybe one day reach the pro tour.”
Azuma has seriously beefed up his resume since that freshman season as Huynh’s doubles partner. He and new partner Joey Hu have now won two straight league doubles titles and are going for a second straight state doubles title. Azuma will play for the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“Singles or doubles, I don’t really have a preference, whatever helps the team win is the right thing to do,” said Azuma, who is a “phenomenal” singles player according to Huynh. “Hopefully, I can do both in college. I love playing tennis, so it doesn’t really matter.”
That same day three years ago when Azuma and Huynh won ILH doubles, a few courts over Punahou’s Alyssia Fossorier and Katreina Corpuz were capturing the league’s girls doubles title.
They’ve also shined in the Hawaii high school tennis world. They teamed up to win states as freshmen that year as well, and, on Wednesday, matched up against each other for the ILH singles crown. Second-seeded Fossorier, who has a keen power game, upset top-seeded and two-time defending league champion Corpuz 6-2, 2-6, 6-2. A case of strep throat hurt Corpuz’s cause.
Both will be going for this year’s state singles title. Corpuz is trying for her second state singles championship.
Asked if she’ll be fully recovered by the May 3-5 state championships at CORP, Corpuz said, “One hundred percent. Definitely. Of course. It’s not going to turn out this way (referring to Wednesday’s loss). It’s going to be very different.”
Corpuz is headed to the Naval Academy on a tennis scholarship in the fall.
“I did a lot of college shopping my sophomore year,” Corpuz said. “When I was introduced to Navy, at first I said, ‘No way, not military. I’m not going to do that.’ But I did a lot of research, visited the college, made a lot of friends and I realized that it’s honestly a place I want to be. I know that it’s going to turn me into the best person I can be. Everybody is telling me I have a lot of potential and the Naval Academy is going to push me.”
Fossorier earned a tennis scholarship from UC Irvine.
Incidentally, the Warriors’ Yip (the loser in the boys final) will play for the University of Redlands, and the Raiders’ Hu is off to play for Pacific University along with Mic-Pacific’s Reyn Miyagawa (the ILH second seed who lost to Yip 7-5, 6-1 in the semifinals).
Punahou freshmen Cosette Wu and Jackie O’Neill are in the same position that Corpuz and Fossorier were in three years ago — newly minted ILH doubles champions. They were the fourth-seeded team and got past Buffanblu teammates and sixth-seeded Lexie Matsunaga and Megan Flores 6-2, 6-0.
“We just encouraged each other a lot and went for our shots,” Wu said. “We had the determination and wanted to win, and it didn’t matter who we played.”
A key turning point in the tourney came in the semifinals, when Wu and O’Neill upset top-seeded Buffanblu teammates Clarise Huang and Betsy Wo, 6-4, 6-1.
“We don’t know how we pulled through some of the matches,” O’Neill said.