Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Freshman Gabe Owens is the top singles player on the Pinewood boys tennis team.
Although the Pinewood School boys tennis team has yet to win a match, there is an upside to the Panthers’ down season – the emergence of Gabe Owens.
“We have a very talented freshman,” coach Craig Corfield said.
Owens, the team’s top singles player, sports a 12-1 record. His lone loss came against powerhouse Menlo School, and he beat all but two opponents in straight sets.
While those wins haven’t led to team victories, Owens is far from frustrated. Being part of the squad – win or lose – has its benefits.
“I just enjoy the social aspect of playing on the team,” he said. “It’s still fun to be on the team, even though we aren’t winning.”
Owens is new to Pinewood, moving to Los Altos Hills from Cincinnati last summer when his father took a new job. Dad Chris, a pilot and recreational tennis player, introduced Gabe to the sport five years ago.
“My dad started me, and I loved it from the day I started,” the 15-year-old said. “I like the competitiveness and how I make a lot of friends from it.”
Owens left Ohio ranked second in the state among United States Tennis Association players in the 14-and-under boys division and 16th in the Midwest Section, comprising five states.
Owens said he ranks around 50th in Northern California in the 16 boys division, but he hasn’t played many tournaments yet. Although Owens conceded that California has more top-notch players than Ohio, he expects to steadily climb the ranks.
“I want to be highly ranked in NorCal – in the top 10 by the end of 16s – and in the top 100 in the nation,” he said.
Owens also aspires to play tennis in college.
But before all that, he’s focused on finishing his high school season strong. Pinewood won’t qualify for the Central Coast Section team tournament, of course, but Owens is expected to qualify for the individual tourney next month.
“I think I can do pretty well in CCS,” he said.
The 5-foot-9 Owens listed his biggest strengths as “my forehand and my competitiveness.”
He’s been working on his serve and backhand and said “they’ve really improved.”
Owens has a racket in his hand nearly every day of the week. A year-round player, Owens said he trains 2 1/2 hours four days a week and competes in tournaments on weekends.
So what parts of his game is he working on now?
“My consistency and mental game,” said Owens, whose favorite school subjects include math and science. “I want to stay consistent throughout the match.”
Owens’ next match is scheduled 4 p.m. Thursday when Pinewood visits Woodside Priory to conclude its West Bay Athletic League slate.