Jeff Davis team members are front row from left, Patricia Sepulveda, Eli Cruz, Luis Hernandez; at net from left, Steve Velasquez, Flavio Correa, Jose Cabrera, Isai Castelan, April Valenzuela, Osbel Oliva, Assistant Coach Gabriela Mindiola; and back row, Coach Rey Weller. Not pictured is team member Juan Torrez.
Houston Tennis Association
It didn’t take long for the Houston’s Jeff Davis High School tennis team to honor the investment that several groups and individuals made in them.
In their first season of play this year, the boys’ team won first place in District 4A, and one team member captured the boy’s singles championship.
In 2010 Davis High PTA members Maria Aleman and Sofie Smith contacted Houston Tennis Association board member Emily Schaefer and USTA Texas Tennis Service Representative Cindy Benzon seeking help on renovating the campus’ two courts, which were in bad condition.
The Houston Independent School District, Avenue CDC, Go Neighborhoods, HTA, USTA Texas, and Sue and Bob Bramlette pulled together enough funds from grants and individual donations to resurface the courts, buy new nets, equipment, racquets and balls.
The two courts were renovated and dedicated in December 2010. The renovations were enough to motivate team members to perfect their forehands, step up their footwork, practice diligently and bring home a tennis trophy for the first time in the school’s 86-year history.
Isai Castelan, a senior planning to study architecture at the University of Houston, won the boys’ singles title for the school.
Other team members wearing the school’s purple and gray colors were Jose Cabrera, Flavio Correa, Eli Cruz, Osbel Oliva, Steve Velasquez, Luis Hernandez, Juan Torrez, Patricia Sepulveda and April Valenzuela.
Coach Ray Weller will lose four of his team members (Cruz, Oliva and Hernandez, in addition to Castelan) to graduation, so he will be doing some in-school recruiting this fall. And girls’ coach Gabriela Mindiola hopes to add to her female roster.
News of the team’s victories has spread around the Panther campus, and Weller and Mindiola are expecting a lot of interest and continued success.