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Eagles on the verge of soaring

Kolar leads young Del Oro team aiming to get back on top of the SFL
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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Tennis, at its core, is an individual sport. That's why many top-flight junior players are homeschooled, work out with private coaches and hone their skills on the USTA tournament circuit. Talk to Sean Kolar, however, and one can quickly sense that he enjoys being part of something bigger than himself. That's why he joined Del Oro High's boys squad this season. Kolar was ranked No. 10 among Northern California juniors in the 14s age group before recently moving up to the 16s. A freshman at Del Oro, he has already taken his place as the Golden Eagles' No. 1 singles player. He's a huge talent, said Oakmont High coach John Somers, who has seen Kolar play at Roseville's Johnson Ranch Racquet Club on several occasions. When it comes to talking about himself, Kolar is pretty tight-lipped. Wearing a white-and-blue cap slightly askew atop his head with giant tufts of blonde hair protruding out from underneath, he mostly spits out two- or three-word sentences. Ask Kolar what attracted him to high school tennis, however, and he taps into his sense of school spirit. I want to help us beat Granite Bay, he said, referring to Del Oro's bitter archrival. With players of Sean's caliber, it's usually tough to be part of a team, Golden Eagles coach Jen Isaac said. But Sean doesn't put himself above the team. He puts the team first, which is as it should be. Before Tuesday, Kolar hadn't lost a high school match. That streak ended when Kolar fell to Oakmont junior Conner Coats 7-5, 6-2. Kolar was the first player to win more than two games in a set against Coats this season, according to Somers. He's extremely aggressive, Somers said of Kolar. He likes to hit the ball hard, and he does it quite well. (Kolar is) capable of winning league this year if he puts his mind to it, Isaac said. Kolar, who plays tennis year-round, represents the future of a Golden Eagles squad comprised mostly of juniors and sophomores. The team's only seniors are Matt Winger and Cody Sanders, who respectively play at No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles. Sanders' doubles partner is junior Matt Hanson. Junior Garrett Dahlin and sophomore Spencer Butterfield make up the Golden Eagles' No. 1 doubles pairing, while sophomores Nick Koop and Taylor Rieff are Del Oro's No. 3 tandem. Behind Winger at the No. 3 singles spot is sophomore Charlie Wyatt. Junior Andrew Milton is the Golden Eagles' No. 4 singles player, followed by sophomore Brandon Bailey at No. 5 and junior Taylor Carrington at No. 6. Del Oro is currently in third place in the Sierra Foothill League, trailing Granite Bay and Rocklin with a 5-2 record. Next year we should be really tough, Isaac said.