Tucson High School Sports

Champions: Rincon/University’s Vikram Narendran, Catalina Foothills standout Austin Cohen and Pusch Ridge doubles team Estelle Fetsis and Emma Bartruff

Vikram Narendran with teammates and friends. (Rincon/UHS Photo)

Down five games to two and facing set point against the top-seeded defending state champion, Rincon University sophomore Vikram Narendran clung to the first set like a tiger on the precipice, drawing from a deep well of confidence to avoid disaster, gain his footing, and storm back to claim the first set, 7-6 (7-2 in the tiebreak). Narendran carried his momentum into set 2, cruising 6-1 to capture the Division I state singles title in straight sets at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale on Tuesday. 

Covering the entire court, counter punching ripping forehand ground strokes and blistering backhands from his older and physically stronger opponent, Mountain Ridge senior No. 1 Lincoln Baldonado, No. 3 Narendran displayed tremendous grit to climb all the way back to tie the match 6-6, forcing a tiebreaker. 

All the while, a small but devoted and demonstrative contingent of teammates, parents and fans fed off of Vikram’s electric energy, which he punctuated by pumping his right fist while exclaiming, “Let’s Go!” and “I’m not done yet!” There was a magical transference of energy between Vik and his passionate fans, who reverberated that energy back to him. The contingent included senior teammates Trey Harrison and Diego Hernandez Wendlant, plus Vik’s friend Luke, who is also a senior, Vik’s mother and father.

“I knew that I could come back,” Narendran said. “There’s always a chance. The match is never over. That’s why in tennis, they alternate servers and you play 6 games in a set. You can always dig deep. You can always claw back. It’s mental. You have to be mentally strong. I was not going to let that first set get away from me. I wanted to hold on until my parents got there.” 

Vikram’s sister Tanvi won the D-I state singles title two years ago. She is currently a singles player at the University of Arizona.

By Jason Bradley Miller, Rincon University Interim Athletic Director

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