Section Standout: Singles
School: Central Valley Christian
He's qualified because: Gong became the first player from Central Valley Christian to capture a Central Section Individual Tennis Championship, winning the 16-man singles draw as its top seed. Gong defeated No. 3 Allen Wang of Buchanan in the final 6-0, 6-1, part of a dominating run through the tournament that saw the four-year varsity standout drop only seven games. "I was kind of nervous, but I tried to focus during every point," Gong said. "I just didn't want to give up many free points. I wanted to make someone beat me instead of me beating myself." He defeated East Bakersfield's No. 4 Sammy Ramirez 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals, Buchanan's No. 8 Zain Amro 6-1, 6-2 in the quarters and Sanger's No. 16 Alex Wu 6-1, 6-0 in the opening round. "He played about as good a tennis as he's capable of playing," Cavaliers co-coach Mark McAlister said. "He was in the zone and played some pretty darned good tennis right there."
A process: Gong has been building toward his championship moment. He was a quarterfinalist as a freshman and placed third as a No. 6 seed during his sophomore season. Then last year, Gong was seeded third but had to drop out while leading a quarterfinal because he had to leave for a USTA age-group tournament. "It meant a lot to finally win it my senior year," said Gong, who was 105-13 in singles and 41-8 in doubles during his four varsity seasons.
Team champion, too: Gong was a part of winning two points in top-seeded Central Valley Christian's 5-4 victory over No. 2 Taft for the section Division IV title. Gong beat Rada Arrequin 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles and teamed with Tyler Thomas to knocked off Arrequin and Cristo Miranda 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 doubles. "Him and his brother (Bailey) carried the team on their shoulders this year," McAlister said.