Record: 24-0 singles; 13-2 doubles
He's qualified because: Won his second straight Central Section individual boys tennis singles title with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory over East Bakersfield's Daymon Johnson. Also won section individual singles title as a sophomore (defeating teammate Josh Lorentzen 7-6, 6-2) and finished third as a freshman. Has a three-year career record of 88-3 in singles, 42-2 in doubles.
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El Diamante High's Ryan Andrada rode one strategy all the way to a third-place singles finish in the Central Section individual boys tennis tournament as a freshman:
Let your opponent make the mistakes.
But he knew returning shots consistently alone wasn't going to make him a champion. He had to start making shots of his own.
And that's just what Andrada has done while stepping out of the shadow of former teammate Josh Lorentzen and establishing himself as the section's premier singles player.
Andrada captured a second straight individual singles title May 21 with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory over East Bakersfield's Daymon Johnson and has been selected The Bee's Player of the Year.
"It had a little bit to do with getting older and stronger, but also with concentrating on doing that more and making it a habit," Andrada said of adding more attack to his game.
"It's a tough transition because when you first start trying to hit the ball [harder,] you miss a lot because you aren't used to it. But you have to keep with it, because eventually you will get it where you want it to be."
Andrada began making changes to his game during the summer of 2009, between his freshman and sophomore years, working with Brad Stine of Fresno's Stine 360 Tennis Academy in an effort to add power to his precision.
He opened his sophomore season No. 2 on El Diamante's ladder behind Lorentzen, then the two-time reigning section runner-up and owner of some of the most powerful shots of any player in the section at the time.
Andrada lost three challenge matches to Lorentzen for the Miners' No. 1 spot during the season and dropped a three-set match to his Sacramento State-bound teammate during the West Yosemite League individual finals. But it all came together for Andrada in the postseason as he earned a rematch with Lorentzen in the section individual final and walked away with a 7-6, 6-2 victory.
"No one expected him to win as a sophomore," El Diamante coach Joe Harding said. "But he felt confident enough in his game to develop into a full-court player. It used to be the big knock on Ryan that he was just a retriever. He figured out he can be more effective if he can hit shots harder and deeper and flatter.
"I didn't see how a retriever could win Valley against the type of players we have around here. But he's developed his skills and definitely raised the level of his game. He's morphed into an all-court player."
It was one thing for Andrada to win the title as an underdog, quite another to repeat as a marked man.
But that didn't stop Andrada – who was introduced to tennis by his grandfather, the late George Rumelheart, at 3 years old – from winning the Visalia Invitational and the WYL individual titles while going 24-0 in singles and 13-2 in doubles.
"There was a little bit of pressure," Andrada said. "But I didn't mind it because it helped me perform. Knowing I had won before gave me confidence I could do it again."