Countdown: Klein Rides High with the Mustangs
by Rhiannon Potkey, 29 March 2012
|Share: || || |
Derek Klein figured Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was not an option for his college tennis career.
Klein had sent the coaching staff a few emails, and never received a response.
But once Nick Carless became the new coach at Cal Poly, he contacted Klein about possibly joining the program.
"I was really surprised. I didn't think I would be able to play there," Klein said. "But once I got the call from Nick out of the blue, Cal Poly became my top choice."
Klein has verbally committed to Cal Poly, and plans to sign his letter of intent in April. The San Diego native chose Cal Poly over UC Davis, and also made visits to UC Santa Barbara and Claremont-McKenna.
"I really like the tennis program at Cal Poly and really like the coach and how he has goals for me and the team," Klein said. "He knows where he wants this team to go, and the area is great. It's near the beach, and it's a pretty good school academically also."
Klein started out playing soccer before picking up a tennis racket at age 7.
He became more serious about tennis three years later and eventually quit soccer to begin taking lessons on a frequent basis.
"I just really like the whole competitive atmosphere in tennis," Klein said. "It's really about relying on yourself more instead of on a team."
Klein, a senior at Westview High, trains at the Giavara Tennis Academy under the guidance of Ken Giavara.
"One thing that really stands out about Derek's game is his power," Giavara said. "He is one of the strongest juniors I have seen, and that is why he has such high-quality wins because he will never be overpowered on the court. From age 14-15, he has always hit a pretty big ball. He is at such a higher power level than most kids."