La Verne’s Tennis Royalty Meets at Bonita’s Center Court

August 24, 2010
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Freshman Marina Sigsworth demonstrates her skills for the coaches.

Freshman Marina Sigsworth demonstrates her skills for the coaches.

Of all Bonita’s coaches, none radiates more positivism than girls’ tennis coach Randy Bell. Not even the fiery sphere 93 million miles from earth can spread more sunshine.

Currently, 72 girls are trying out for about 30 to 35 total spots on the varsity/junior varsity team.

“That’s the most I’ve had in any year,” said Bell, a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff. “Our program is taking off like wild fire.”

Bell will post the players that made the team on Friday.

The coach and his assistants have a pretty good idea of the talent they’re working with. Over the summer, 76 girls signed up in the city’s tennis program, where they played and competed for six weeks. Many of those same players are now trying out for Bonita’s team.

“Of our Bonita players, we had about a 90 percent participation rate,” Bell said, sporting a new wide-brimmed straw hat on the 100-degree-plus day. “That’s why my try-outs only run four days.”

While he seen most of the players now wielding forehands and backhands and charging the net, there are still a few he needs to watch closely. “We have a exchange student from Germany, so we’d like to see her play a little more,” he said. Perhaps, a Steffi Graf in the making.

Coach Bell is a towering presence at the net.

Coach Bell is a towering presence at the net.

Bell insists players need more than tennis skills to make the team.

“It’s not just about how you play tennis,” he said. “It’s about attitude, it’s about coach-ability, it’s about how much you want to be part of the team concept. We also want to make sure parents are active members and are actively involved in the program.

“We’re one big family including the parents and grandparents.”

Bonita enters a new league, the Hacienda League, where every week his team will be challenged. From last year’s team, Bell will be missing Chrissy Normington, an all-CIF first team selection.

“If I have players like that we’ll do well, but we expect to struggle a bit this year,” Bell said. “We’re coming into a tough league. Walnut, Rowland and Diamond Bar are all really good. But we’re going to have a blast. The kids are going to have a good time and make friendships they’ll have the rest of their lives.”

Bell has been at the helm of girls’ tennis for 10 years at Bonita, and he hasn’t changed his philosophy one bit.

“What we try to advocate is truth, commitment, love and belief,” Bell said. “If you have those four things you can do anything.”

At least one of those values will be put to the test this Friday. That’s when the “truth” of the coaches selections will be made known.

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