Otay Ranch girls tennis team hoping to recapture momentum from championship spring coed season

Otay Ranch High School sophomores Emely Valencia and Marlon Abarca made history as CIF mixed doubles champions. Courtesy photo

The 2020-21 high school tennis season was unique when competition finally returned to live action last spring as the separate boys and girls seasons were combined into one coed season.

The duo of sophomores Emely Valencia and Marlon Abarca made history for Otay Ranch High School by winning the San Diego Section mixed doubles championship. Valencia and Abarca defeated the Canyon Crest Academy sibling tandem of Katie Codd and Jackson Codd by scores of 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 at the Barnes Tennis Center.

The mixed doubles format was included for the first time in the CIF athletic calendar because of changes that needed to be made because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was a real good experience this season,” Otay Ranch coach Dan Woodard offered in somewhat of an understatement.

Otay Ranch High School’s Mesa League coed tennis championship team poses for a group photograph. Courtesy photo

Valencia returns for the 2021 fall girls tennis season while Abarca would be eligible to compete in the 2022 boys spring tennis season.

The combined Otay Ranch boys and girls teams captured the Metro-Mesa League championship during the spring season with a perfect 10-0 record. The Lady Mustangs should have enough remaining firepower to make another strong impression this fall.

Besides Valencia, a first team all-league selection, junior Arianne Pepa, a two-time Mesa League MVP and 2021 CIF singles runner up, also returns to grace the Otay Ranch lineup this fall.

Other top returners include seniors Samantha Bazan and Sarai Santana along with sophomore Kiley Balko.

Bazan received first team all-league recognition while Balko and Santana were both second team all-league honorees.

“With the strength of our returners I expect us to compete again for the Mesa League championship and represent well in CIF,” Woodard said. “It will be hard against the well-coached teams we have such as Mater Dei Catholic and Bonita Vista. I am lucky to have a bunch of great kids, so I at least know for sure they will give it their best effort and have fun.”

Otay Ranch was scheduled to host Mater Dei Catholic on Thursday and is scheduled to host Bonita Vista on Sept. 16.

League matches will be against Eastlake, Mater Dei Catholic, Olympian, Bonita Vista, Sweetwater and Montgomery.

League play extends through Oct. 14.


Metro Conference Scoreboard


Tuesday, Aug. 24
Patrick Henry 13, Eastlake 5

Thursday, Aug. 26
Bonita Vista 13, Steele Canyon 8


Otay Ranch’s Marlon Abarca and Emely Valencia pose as Metro-Mesa League mixed doubles champions. Courtesy photo


2020-21 Mesa League Coed Tennis All-League Honor Roll

Girls First Team Singles

Arianne Pepa (Otay Ranch), 10

Sydney Pilgrim (Olympian), 12

Isabella Arnaiz (Mater Dei Catholic), 9

League champion: Pepa (Otay Ranch)


Boys First Team Singles

Enrique Uribe (Eastlake), 11

Walker Nelson (Bonita Vista), 10

Diego Covarrubias (Eastlake), 12

League champion: Uribe (Eastlake)


First Team Mixed Doubles

Marlon Abarca (10) and Emely Valencia (10), Otay Ranch

Carlo Oropeza (10) and Arantxa Mendiola (11), Mater Dei Catholic

Josh Woodard (11) and Samantha Bazan (11), Otay Ranch

League champion: Abarca and Valencia, Otay Ranch


Girls First Team Doubles

Alexa Fakhimi (11) and Bibiana Martinez (11), Bonita Vista

Ingrid Liu (12) and Alusia Kim (12), Otay Ranch

Sophia Lawrence (12) and Cydria Harris (11), Olympian

League champion: Fakhimi and Martinez, Bonita Vista


Boys First Team Doubles

Jose Manuel Oropeza (12) and Nilo Granado (10), Mater Dei Catholic

Triston Dinh (12) and Ryan Dinh (9), Eastlake

Leonardo Castaneda (9) and Grant Valentine (9), Eastlake

League champion: Oropeza and Granado, Mater Dei Catholic

Otay Ranch girls tennis team hoping to recapture momentum from championship spring coed season