Daly Meinert established himself as the Central Section’s top individual boys tennis player during his first two seasons at Clovis North High School.
As a junior, Meinert helped put the Broncos on the map as a team, too.
With Meinert providing the first point during his 6-2, 6-2 victory over Jacob Vander Beek at No. 1 singles, Clovis North captured its first Division I championship with a 6-0 victory over perennial section power Clovis West, which won six of the previous seven titles.
“I’m extremely happy and proud of my team and what we were able to accomplish after never doing it at Clovis North before,” said Meinert, The Fresno Bee’s Player of the Year. “I’m really happy we were able to take down our rival in the biggest match. There were a lot of people out there, and it was a pressure situation, but we performed well. I’m glad we were able to bring that one home for Clovis North.”
Never miss a local story.
I’m glad we were able to bring that one home for Clovis North.
Daly Meinert, who helped lead Clovis North to the school’s first Central Section Division I boys tennis title
The match at Copper River Country Club capped a 19-2 season that also saw the Broncos win their first Tri-River Athletic Conference title and sweep the rival Golden Eagles in three matches.
It also helped ease the sting of Meinert’s 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4) loss to Garces junior Dylan Simonsen in the final of the section’s individual singles tournament. It was Meinert’s second loss to section opposition – both against Simonsen – in three varsity seasons. Meinert was the section individual singles champion the previous two years.
Meinert led 5-3 in the third set and 3-1 in the third-set tiebreaker but couldn’t finish off Simonsen, who beat Meinert early in their freshman year before the Clovis North standout gained revenge that season during the section individual singles final.
“He played amazing,” Meinert said. “The last time I played him, he didn’t play that well. But this time, he really came to play. I don’t think I played my best game, but that doesn’t take anything away from what he did. He put the pressure on me. I didn’t give it to him; he took it from me.”
With his hopes of becoming the section’s first four-time singles champion dashed, Meinert said he will focus on joining four others, according to section historian Bob Barnett, as a three-time champ – and helping Clovis North repeat as team champ.
“It’s those losses and failures that really push you to be a better player,” Meinert said. “It makes you realize you can’t be complacent. There is always going to be that one person working harder than you when you aren’t working hard. It showed me what I need to work on.
“Now that so many people are like, ‘How did you lose to this guy,’ and giving me a little smack for it, I want to prove to them that I can be the best.”
78-4 The three-season singles record for Clovis North boys tennis standout Daly Meinert
One of the best juniors in Northern California, Meinert played high school tennis rather than focus on the USTA tournament circuit so he could be part of a team and chase the D-I title.
Broncos coach Brad Fernandez said Meinert’s leadership, as well as his dominant play in a 23-2 season, helped lift Clovis North to the top. Meinert is 78-4 during his three-year career.
“He really showed a lot of character this year, especially with the team,” Fernandez said. “He basically took that leadership role and the guys rallied around him. He’s an energy guy, and when he gets himself going, the rest of the team feeds off his energy. When he would pump up, it would get the rest of the guys going.”
Boys Tennis Doubles Team of the Year: Miles Hale/Stephen Pimentel
School: Clovis North
Grades: Hale, junior; Pimentel, senior
They are qualified because: The second-seeded Hale and Pimentel became the first doubles champions in Clovis North history with a 6-1, 7-6 victory over Clovis West’s top-seeded Jacob Vander Beek and Taka Shin in the 16-team section individual tournament. It avenged their only loss of a 22-1 season together – a 6-1, 6-2 setback to Vander Beek and Shin during the final of the Tri-River Athletic Conference tournament. Hale and Pimentel’s march to the section title included wins over Liberty-Bakersfield’s No. 15 Aaron James/Arvin Shertukde (default), Bullard’s No. 7 Lincoln Hoppe/Wiley Woolf (6-1, 6-2) and Stockdale’s No. 6 Andre Paradise/Andrew Huang (6-2, 6-3) during the section individual tournament.
Singles standouts, too: Hale, a transfer from Santa Barbara, and Pimentel, a third-year varsity starter, played crucial roles in Clovis North capturing its first Central Section Division I team title. In the final, Pimentel provided match point in the Broncos’ 6-0 victory over perennial power Clovis West with a 7-6 (6), 6-2 win over Taka Shin at No. 3 singles, capping a 15-3 season. Hale, playing No. 2, followed with a 6-4, 6-5 win over Addison Weil. Hale finished 18-0 in singles and 23-1 in doubles.
He said it: “They were on the same page, which is sometimes tough to find when making pairings for doubles. They were on the same level and knew how to raise each other’s game. If one of them was down, the other knew how to lift them up.” – Clovis North coach Brad Fernandez
Boys Tennis Coach of the Year: David Cortina
He’s qualified because: Six years after wrapping up his playing career at Selma, Cortina directed his alma mater to the first Central Section boys tennis title in school history. The top-seeded Bears capped a perfect march through the postseason with a 9-0 victory over No. 11 Dinuba in the D-IV final. Selma, which had five four-year varsity players in Robert Smith, Preet Bains, Chanvir Singh, Sahil Gill and Heman Gill, also beat Fowler and Yosemite by 9-0 scores during the postseason. The Bears were the section runner-up each of the previous four seasons (2015 in D-IV and 2012-14 in D-V). Selma went 16-3 overall, also winning the Central Sequoia League title and tying for fourth at the Visalia Invitational.
He said it: “It was a long-awaited title. When I was in high school, it was definitely hard for me because all the other schools in our league were really good. We had potential, but never got the major wins. So for me coaching these kids and seeing them grow and stepping up to the plate, it was a great feeling.” – Selma boys tennis coach David Cortina
Boys Tennis All-Stars
- Travis Bakker, senior, Immanuel
- Stewart Bryan, senior, Golden West
- Dillan Chongtoua, senior, Clovis East
- Robbie Ellis, senior, Clovis West
- Bailey Gong, senior, Central Valley Christian
- Lincoln Hoppe, senior, Bullard
- Kyle Knutsen, senior, Buchanan
- Nick Jaramishian, senior, Bullard
- Joseph Moua, senior, Sunnyside
- Garrison Quinn, junior, Memorial
- Taka Shin, junior, Clovis West
- Jeremiah Yang, freshman, Sanger
- Derek Yao, freshman, Clovis North
- Jacob Vander Beek, senior, Clovis West
- Addison Weil, junior, Clovis West