Amongst competitors widely known in the state like College of the Desert, Saddleback College, and Grossmont, GCC is just a name in the shadows.
Representation in the State Championships for GCC was not as common until recently; as a result, gaining a reputable name was not a possibility.
This season, the Vaqueros have defied this barrier and have found representation in the State Championships. The doubles team of Shara Surabi and Gevork Kirakosian qualified from the Southern California Regional Tournament to compete in the State Championships, further their chance of gaining reputation.
The Vaquero squad is currently playing in the State Championships in San Joaquin Delta, which started this morning and will end Sunday. Surabi and Kirakosian are representing the squad.
While other doubles teams usually train together from the beginning of the season, Surabi and Kirakosian were teamed together mid season, giving them a disadvantage compared to other competitors in the tournaments.
Despite their disadvantage, they have shown to be a powerful team, defeating Marymount College and Palomara College in the second and third rounds of the Regional Tournament, held on May 1-5 in San Diego. They won the match against Marymount in two sets, 7-6, 6-4. Losing their first set 4-6, Surabi and Kirakosian fought back to with two straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Once in the fourth round, the team qualified for the State Championships, but lost to players from College of the Desert, 1-6, 1-6. This duo was awarded Second Team All Conference for their performance.
To add to their reputation, Surabi was named Player of the Year for this season and was also nominated for Sportsman of the Year.
“It’s better to be named Sportsman of the Year than be the Player of the Year,” said coach Bob Mackay, “The Sportsman award shows the character of the person, now only his performance as an athlete.” Mackay also explains how the possibility of Surabi obtaining both awards is not only a great honor, but a mirror to what kind of athlete Surabi really is.
Surabi represented the Vaqueros in Ojai in the annual Ojai Tournament. He defeated fifth and eighth seeded players in the state. Surabi competed against Rye Kashiwabara from College of the Desert who was the third seeded player in state, and lost 1-6, 2-6.
“Although I lost, I think this tournament was the best I’ve competed this whole season,” said Surabi.
Surabi and Kirakosian, as well as Roland Nazarian and Eric Hu, represented the Vaqueros in Ojai in doubles. Both doubles teams were knocked out of competition in the second round.
Coach Mackay expresses how he is proud of the squad’s performance and said, “Shara and Gevork’s representation is giving us recognition. Their performance has kept GCC alive.”