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Countdown: Kaden Funk Headed to Penn
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It didn't take much for Windermere's Kaden Funk to realize he preferred tackling tennis than opposing football players.

Kaden Funk has committed to Penn
Prior to entering the seventh grade, Funk decided to hang up the tennis racquet and play football. His parents spoke to his tennis coach at the time, Lorenzo Beltrame, who had given his approval.

"He was great about it," said Funk, an 18-year-old Olympia High School senior who recently committed to attend the University of Pennsylvania. "I think he kinda knew I would come back to tennis."

Funk played Pop Warner football where his parents played him an age division up since he was big for other players his age.

"That was a huge mistake," Funk said. "I had no football skills, so of course I wasn't going to get to play in a skilled position like a QB, receiver, or running back. I was a third string linebacker. After three weeks, I told my mom I would play tennis six days a week if I could stop with football.

"I was bored to death, and all I got was mosquito bites," Funk laughed. "She told me she wasn't excited about me quitting football, but she told me she would let me quit this one time. And the next time I wanted to try something different, I had better make sure because I would have to finish out the season. We called Lorenzo back and I was back the next day. It has been tennis from there on out."

It proved to be a good decision, as Funk has tasted defeat just once in 41 singles matches during his high school career. He won the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 4A state title as a sophomore (2014) and was bidding for a repeat when he fell to Winter Park senior Ninan Kumar, 4-6; 6-4; 10-7 in the state semifinals last year.

"Ninan is a friend who I was training with at the time," said Funk, who played number two as a freshman and lost in the overall doubles finals with partner Sebastian Beltrame, now a junior at Harvard. "I am currently training with him (Kumar) now and we also trained together at HPI when I was with Lorenzo Beltrame. It was disappointing to lose at state. I did not play well and he played one of his best. My goal is to win state this year."

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Page updated on Monday, November 04, 2019
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