La Jolla Athletes of the Week: Country Day duo finds connection and a CIF championship on the tennis court
Camden French and Dante Schrantz graduated June 3 from La Jolla Country Day School just weeks after achieving another big milestone — winning the CIF San Diego Section boys doubles tennis championship May 14.
Country Day tennis coach Mike Reisinger has known the two 18-year-olds since they were in kindergarten, when each began playing at the private K-12 school.
“They were always the two best ones,” Reisinger said. “It was sort of ironic that when they were younger, they were very competitive and weren’t the best of friends. … As they got older, they started to work together [and] teamed up together.”
French said the unlikely pairing is “a funny story. We’ve been on the court together since we were 5 years old. All of our coaches used to say that we had a really big rivalry. ... And then as we both matured and realized we’re actually really good buddies, [we’ve] played doubles for the last two years and it’s been really fun.”
The duo won the championship over Jagger Bisharat and Niki Zemljic of La Jolla High School in what Reisinger called a “pretty amazing” three-set match that lasted three hours.
French said he’s “loved every second” of his years at LJCDS, “but the tennis has been the best experience. Growing up on the courts and then finally being able to win CIF doubles … my senior year is pretty cool.”
Schrantz said winning felt “relieving. … Last year, we tried really hard to win and we had a tough loss for both of us in the semifinals, so it was nice to have that hard work pay off and then finally win the championship, not only for ourselves but for our school where we’ve played tennis [for years].”
Reisinger said French is “a very good competitor: solid, consistent, composed.”
Schrantz is “also very athletic, but he’s more flashy, more explosive,” Reisinger said.
The players’ game styles and personalities complement each other well, he added.
“Dante is all flash and he has some of the biggest shots I’ve ever seen,” French agreed. “He has a huge game and is very electric. I’m able to be a rock.”
Schrantz said having French on the court with him “is like having a second me in a way, because we … understand what the other person’s going to do in different situations. It’s pretty easy to play together. We communicate well.”
“They’re just super talented,” Reisinger said. “That makes it easier to coach them, and they’re just good kids. They’re very well-rounded. I’ve also seen them mature into young men.”
That maturity, Reisinger said, has made French and Schrantz role models for the team.
“They put the team first,” he said. “They’re always looking to pick up their teammates or help out their teammates in any way. They’re not about themselves.”
“My entire life I’ve had a racket in my hand,” French said. “The individuality ... [initially] really inspired me to play. But … when I was able to come together and play with Dante, I had a really good time.”
Growing up, he thought playing tennis meant “only you on the court; you make your own decisions,” French said.
But with his doubles experience, he said he’s most looking forward to playing tennis on a team at Denison University in Ohio in the fall.
Schrantz said he loves tennis “because it’s an individual sport … but high school tennis brings the team aspect, which I really enjoy. [We can] brainstorm what we’re going to do between every single point.”
He will attend either Purdue University or a college in Spain but said he isn’t sure whether he’ll play tennis more than recreationally. ◆
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