May 16, 2008

Herrera Twins Capture Mesa League Tennis Title

By John Philip Wyllie

While Sweetwater High School has produced some strong football, baseball and basketball teams over the years it has never by any stretch of the imagination been considered a tennis power. This season, a pair of remarkable twins changed that perception when they stunned their Mesa League opponents and became league doubles champions.

Lorenzo and Vicente Her-rera did not grow up with tennis rackets in their hands. Their summers were not spent at the country club getting private lessons from a local professional. In fact, little more than a year ago, the Herreras had never even ventured on to a tennis court.

“We started playing tennis just over a year ago. We were walking through the park to go to the store and we would see tennis players there every day. We thought that looked interesting and we should try it out. So, for Christmas we got our first tennis rackets and joined the team,” Vicente explained.

Once armed with tennis rackets they headed out to the park and basically taught themselves to play. Last year, their first on the team, they naturally took their lumps. But this year they finished the regular season 17-4, were ranked second in the league heading into the tournament and then stunned the favorites with an upset victory.

Herrera brothers Lorenzo (L) and Vicente (R)use their twin intuition to their advantage Photo: J.P. Wyllie

When talking to their opponents they invariably learn that they have been playing since they were little kids. These opponents are amazed to hear that the Herreras have only been playing for a short time and have never had the benefit of lessons. But what they lack in formal training they make up in other ways.

“They say they don’t, but they have that twin intuition. They work very well together. They don’t look intimidating, but once they get on the court, they are. Other teams have come to fear them. They play all of the time. On the weekends they find matches at Las Palmas and Eucalyptus Parks. They think about tennis, dream about tennis and are very driven. They tell me that they even sleep with their rackets. To them, tennis is not a sport, it is a lifestyle,” said their proud coach, Diana Aguilar.

They naturally look alike and both love tennis, but they have different strengths and weaknesses on the court.

“I usually have the bigger serve, but Lorenzo is more consistent with his ground strokes. We base our strategies on how we feel when we are warming up.”

“Our biggest advantage is our righty-lefty combination. I don’t think anyone else in the league has that. We know how each other plays and we are very similar. I think we are really balanced. Most times we get along well on the court and sometimes we have arguments, but we both come out there to win,” Lorenzo said.

The Herrera brothers are just as competitive in the classroom and they are winners there too. Lorenzo holds a slight academic lead with his 4.1 G.P.A. compared to the 3.8 held by his bother and he likes to needle him by reminding him of that, but it is all in good fun.

Outside the classroom, they are involved in a variety of extracurricular and service activities. Next year, their senior year, Vicente will be directing the Leos Club which is the scholastic version of the Lions Club and Lorenzo will be the president of AVID.

While neither of them has aspirations to play tennis professionally both expect to continue playing for many years to come. With a little more experience under their belts there is no telling what they might accomplish.

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