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Thursday, August 11, 2022
FairfaxSportsOakton boys win state tennis title

Oakton boys win state tennis title

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Having won a state championship in 2021, the Oakton Cougars knew they couldn’t rest on their laurels if they wanted to accomplish something really special and difficult and defend that Virginia High School League’s Class 6 boys tennis title this past spring.

So the returning players immediately got busy last summer preparing for that 2022 goal by training together to help ignite their motivation and be ready to repeat as state champs, overcoming the graduation of two key players.

The plan worked. The Cougars not only achieved their goal, but finished the 2022 spring campaign undefeated, with a 20-0 record. In addition to the state crown, Oakton also won Concorde District and 6D North Region tournament titles, finishing 5-0 in the postseason.

“The players put a lot of pressure and expectations on themselves,” Oakton coach Betsy Tyskowski said. “They all pulled together as a team.”

The season ended for Oakton with a 5-0 victory over the Cosby Titans in the state-title match.

“We worked hard for this and talked about how we needed to make the team better if we wanted to repeat. You couldn’t write a better story than to go back-to-back winning state titles. It’s amazing,” said Vinh Tran, who was Oakton’s No. 1 senior singles player. “The biggest thing was building team chemistry. It was all props to the team.”

Shawn Lisann was Oakton’s No. 2 senior singles player. He will play at Oberlin College in Ohio.

“Winning two years in a row: That’s pretty satisfying and a big deal,” Lisann said. “It’s hard to do because of the expectations. Being the champion gives other teams added motivation to win against us. We had 10 seniors on this team, so we all really wanted to win again.”

Lisann and Tran were both four-year players for Oakton and two team captains this spring.

Oakton was 3-0 in the state tourney, defeating Thomas Jefferson, 5-1, in the first round, then W.T. Woodson, 5-2, in the semifinals. In the region tourney, the Cougars received a first-round bye, then topped South Lakes, 5-0, in the semis, then McLean, 6-0, in the final.

Oakton’s other top singles players in the playoffs were sophomores Kenny Jiang and Alan Wang at No. 3 and 4, respectively, freshman Justin Ning at No. 5 and junior captain Myles Olsen at No. 6.

“They were workhorses of the team and managed themselves well,” Tyskowski said of those players.

Other top players for Oakton were seniors Allan Herring, Charles Bachman and captain Jeremie Garcia.

The coach said another form of team bonding was the underclassmen players dyed their hair blonde and orange for the postseason matches.

In the district and region doubles tournaments, Tran and Lisann teamed to win both titles. They were defeated in the semifinals of the state doubles tournament in two close sets.

NOTES: Oakton finished 15-1 last season, for a two-year mark of 35-1 . . . The Cougars have won three state championships overall, the first in 2015. Since 2017, Oakton has played in the state tournament every season, finishing second in 2017, and losing in the semifinals the next two springs. There was no 2020 season because of the pandemic . . . With the Oakton school being renovated the last few years, Oakton played their home matches at nearby Nottoway Park in Vienna. So none of this season’s seniors ever played a match on the Oakton tennis courts. “We got used to Nottoway and will miss it,” Tyskowski said.

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