Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

HHSAA Tennis final Results – WHS Freshman Sarah Dvorak #2 in state

Championships – Boys Singles
[1] Chas Okamoto (Kapaa) def. [2] Kento Tanaka-Tamaki (St. Anthony) 6-4, 6-2

Third Place – Boys Singles
[3] Robin Kiyabu (Punahou) def. [4] Brandon Lee (Punahou) 6-3, 6-1

Championships – Girls Singles
[5] Alyssa Tobita (Mililani) def. [1] Sarah Dvorak (Waiakea) 7-6 (3), 7-5

Third Place – Girls Singles
[4] Kristen Poei (Iolani) def. [3] Sarah Kukino (Kauai) (def)

Championships – Boys Doubles
[1] Marcel Chan/Roman Kop (Kamehameha Schools Kapalama) def. [7] Colin Tseng/Lawrence Ho (Iolani) 6-3, 6-3
Third Place – Boys Doubles
[4] Travis Yoshimoto/William Chen (Punahou) def. [8] Shaun Chow/Colby Ing (Punahou) 7-5, 6-1

Championships – Girls Doubles
[1] Jennifer Laws/Sarah Steele (Punahou) def. [4] Ashley Nakaoka/Dani Young (Punahou) 7-6 (4), 6-2

Third Place – Girls Doubles
[3] Tara Nilsson/Sari Kwee (Iolani) def. [2] Stephanie Matsuura/Ceara Sumida (Waiakea) 6-2, 6-4


May 10, 2011 Posted by | tennis | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Dvorak rising to the top in Junior Tennis

Sarah Dvorak, left, and Sarah Kukino

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are two of the most dominate players in the world of tennis and a youngster from Waiakea is also dominating her competition here on the Big Island.

Hilo tennis sensation Sarah Dvorak just keeps on winning.  The 14 year old who just entered the 9th grade at Waiakea High continues to turn heads while keeping her opponents off balance.

Dvorak recently won two tournaments, playing at the 18 year old division and defeated #1 ranked Sarah Kukino, not once but twice in straight sets.  During the Hawaii State Junior Championships, from August 12 – 15 Dvorak matched up with Kukino in the girl’s 18 championships, winning 6-1, 6-4.

A month later, Sept 3-6, it was again the #2 seed, Dvorak, this time playing for the Hilo Fall Junior Sectional Championship against #1 seed Kukino with similar results.  The Waiakea freshman beat the Kauai senior in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

The Hilo Junior Tennis Club hosted the four day tournament which saw play at both the Waiakea High courts and the Edith Kanaka’ole Tennis Stadium in Hilo.  Director of the Sectional Championships, Michael Miyahira, had praise for the young Dvorak.

“Sarah (Dvorak) is very strong,” Miyahira said.  “She is a very good player and we look forward to seeing her play in future tournaments.”

Dvorak’s victories over Kukino were huge accomplishments as Kukino is the defending Kauai Interscholastic Federation individual champion and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association’s 2010 state runner-up.

Kukino’s only loss during the 2010 prep tennis season came at the hands of the eventual state champion, Kealakehe’s Sayo Tsukumoto. 

Tsukumoto’s only loss last year came at the hands of Dvorak in a United States Tennis Association sanction tournament.  Tsukumoto was a senior in high school at the time while Dvorak was in the 8th grade at Waiakea Intermediate School.

“I play an aggressive base line game using a short ball attack,” Dvorak said.  “I’m still working on my serve as it needs more spin and more kick so that I can get a better bounce on my ball.”

Dvorak has been cross training with Robin Takahashi since the fourth grade as they work on variety of skills to promote strength and endurance.

“We (Takahashi) do suicides and we use the medicine ball.  He gets me to work on my legs and recently has placed more emphasis on my upper body,” Dvorak said.

Dvorak also heads to Kona on a regular bases and uses the coaching skills of Evan Schermer to develop into a formidable tennis player.  “Coach Evan and I have been working together since sixth grade and I owe a lot of where I am today to him,” she said.

“Sarah’s (Dvorak) huge serve overwhelms the girls in Hawaii,” Coach Schermer said.  “She is a lefty that has a 105 mile per hour first serve.  She reminds me of Rafael Nadel, another lefty with a powerful serve.”

Schermer believes that Dvorak has the capability to become a four time high school tennis champion.  “Sarah just dominates the girls she plays and is reminiscent of the domination Serena Williams has in playing her opponents.”

Dvorak is currently ranked by www.tennisrecruiting.net  as the number 59th incoming freshman in the nation, but Schermer believes that she will move much higher in the national rankings in the next two years.

“Sarah is already one of the top prospects in the country,” Schermer said.  “With more national exposure I believe we’ll see Sarah ranked in the top 10 in the nation by her junior year in high school.”

Despite winning her last two tournaments in the 18 year old division Dvorak still sees a lot of work ahead.

“I need to work on everything,” she said.   “My serves, volleys, and overhand need more work and I can still do better on my footwork.”

The Warrior freshman contributes much of her demanding schedule to effective time management.  “I have to juggle school, practice and home activities and I have learned to manage my time well,” she said.

“I’ll practice with players that are better than I am, usually boys or adult men, so that I can react to the big serves and make solid returns.  When Zandrix (Acob) was here I would practice regularly with him,” Dvorak said.  (Acob is another 14 year and is ranked as the #3 player in the USAT Hawaii Pacific Section 18 year old division).

Due to Dvorak’s financial inability to play regularly on the USAT Hawaii Pacific Sectional circuit she remains ranked as the #2 player in the state at the 18 year old division with Kukino retaining the #1 state ranking.

“My parents are sending my older sister, Joyce, to college at Seattle University so I’m not able to afford to play in all the tennis tournaments throughout the state,” Dvorak sad.

“I’d like to be able to play in more local tournaments and to participate at the Winter Nationals at the Copper Bowl in Tucson, Arizona,” Dvorak said.  “But my families limited financial resources place a limit on the amount of competitive tournaments that I can play.”

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Junior Tennis | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tennis Teen Sensation Aiming for Big Apple

Hilo's Sarah Dvorak reaching new level in tennis

   Barely a teenager and already ranked as one of Hawaii’s top tennis stars among 18 year olds, Sarah Dvorak could be headed to New York.

  The Waiakea Intermediate eighth grader, Sarah Dvorak, is turning heads during tennis competition as the 13 year old phenomenon is ranked number 2 in the state for girls 18.

   “Sarah is now at a whole new level of tennis,” Coach Evan Schermer said.  “When the new rankings came out she was #2 in the state for girls 18 and at this time last year she was ranked #2 for the 14 and under group.”

   Schermer believes that Dvorak’s state ranking is unprecedented and based on her tournament record over the past year that she should actually be ranked #1.

   “Sarah hasn’t lost a match in the girls 18 division all year and I have written a letter to the USTA asking them to reconsider the latest rankings,” Schermer said. 

   Dvorak recently breezed through the competition, winning the USTA Hawaii Pacific Section singles title, held March 18-21, by defeating Kauai’s Sarah Kukino in the finals by a score of 6-2, 6-0.

   During the Hawaii Pacific Section tournament Dvorak teamed with Punahou’s Katie Kim to also capture the doubles title, defeating Waiakea’s Ceara Sumida and Kukino in the seim-finals enroute to winning the doubles championship.

   “What Sarah did on Oahu is unheard of in tennis,” Coach Schermer said.  “For a 13 year old to not only win the singles 18 title but to also combine to win the doubles championship is an outstanding accomplishment.”

   According to Schermer, Dvorak went from playing in the 14 and under division last year and bypassed the 16 division to play at the 18 level.  “Now that is what I call improvement!” the proud coach said.

   Dvorak’s mother, Rose, is the tennis coach at St. Joseph and each day Sarah joins the Cardinal squad to work out with them.

   “I run a couple miles with the St. Joe girls to build up my endurance and after practice we will do sprints up hills,” Dvorak said.

   Dvorak will also practice against the Cardinal boys in order to work on her game.  “I need to work on my footwork and to be more aggressive at the net,” she said.  “I have a good percentage of getting my first serves in and I’m strong at hitting short balls.  I have the confidence to play well and I’m very competitive.”

  Dvorak has won all three tournaments she has entered this year and in May will enter the West Hawaii Tourney at Mauna Kea.

   “I plan on continuing to play at the 18’s as this is the best competition for me,” Dvorak said.  “The kids are older, stronger, more experienced and they hit harder.  I’m learning to adjust my game in order to play at the higher level of competition.”

   Dvorak will now be given the opportunity to win a spot at the US Open qualifying tournament in New York.

   “Sarah will need to play in the Hawaii Sectional Tournament that runs from June 2 to 6 at the Central Oahu Regional Park (CORP) in order to win a spot at the US Open,” Schermer said.

   The CORP tournament is an “open” competition which means that Dvorak will be playing against college students and adults, but this doesn’t frazzle the tough eighth grader.  The winners of the tournament will win a Wild Card spot in the US Open.

   “I always try to play my best and right now I’m trying to work my way up to becoming the best,” she said.  “I’ve played in other open tournaments before and I know that I need to play my best to be number 1.”

   Dvorak said that she was a little disappointed at being ranked number 2 in the state for 18 year olds, but she realizes that the more she plays the better she’ll get.

  “My coach (Evan Schermer) helps me a lot, but he’s in Kona and right now, during the high school tennis season, it’s hard for my mom to get me to Kona on a regular basis,” Dvorak said.

   So far, regardless of the obstacles, she has responded and fared well.  That’s a trend that the young tennis star and her coach hopes continues – all the way to New York

April 13, 2010 Posted by | tennis | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kurtistown Teen Looking to Play the Best

Sarah Dvorak, 13, is one of Hawaii's best tennis players

To be good at a sport you need to play against the best competition and for 13-year old Sarah Dvorak finding the best tennis players to compete against often means traveling to the mainland to enter tournaments.

Over the weekend Dvorak and her family drove over to the West Side of the Island to enter the Queen K Tesoro Annual Fall Mixed Doubles Tournament hosted by the Royal Kona Tennis Club and her coach, Evan Schermer.

“The tournament that we put together is for adults, but I wanted Sarah to play so that she could gain more experience,” Schermer said.  “She’s the strongest singles woman in the tournament, but doubles is a totally different game and this should be fun for her.”

Schermer came to Kona from the Pennsylvania area where he coached tennis for Robert Morris University.  “Sarah has a tremendous work ethic and she maximizes her potential by working really hard,” he said.

During the 2009 junior tennis season Dvorak, in her quest to play the best has often entered the older, high school age division, to gain the most experience.

Earlier in the year Dvorak played in the 18 year old bracket of the West Hawaii District Junior Championships and then went on to compete in and win the 14-year old division of the Nike Junior Tournament a month later.

Dvorak advanced in the West Hawaii District tournament by beating three time Big Island Interscholastic Federation tennis champion, Sayo Tsukamoto of Kealakehe, winning in straight sets 6-2, 7-6.

Over the Labor Day weekend Dvorak, an 8th grader at Waiakea Intermediate School, won the Hilo’s Fall Junior Sectional Tennis Tournament Championship while playing in the 18-year old bracket.

Coach Schermer believes that the older completion makes Dvorak a better player.  “In tennis you really need the combination of being an athlete first and a tennis player second,” he said.  “Sarah has a good tennis base and needs to work on her athleticism.  I’ve got to make sure that she heads in the right direction.”

By mid September Dvorak was competing in the Nike Tournament in California where she faced experienced players in the 14 division.

Sarah Dvorak

“I think that the path that Sarah is heading in will lead to her going to a college with a strong tennis program,” Schermer said.  “She should one day be able to play in the upper tier of college programs.”

While her serve and ground strokes are very competitive she still lacks the high caliber play that is found at the national tournament level.

At the end of October Dvorak played in the North Hawaii Tennis Association Junior Championships where she finished second in the 18 division losing to Sarah Kukino in the finals 7-5, 7-5.

Despite last month’s loss Dvorak is ranked at number 5 in the state for the 18 year old division and has compiled a 13-3 record during 2009.  “Tennis players are 100 percent made on so much technique and Sarah still needs help in this area,” Coach Schermer said. 

Dvorak’s coach believes that there are other areas in which the youngster needs to work on to become a better player and that playing older girls have helped her game improve.   

“A t the Nike Tournament Sarah played really well as her serve and ground strokes are better than most of the competition,” her mother, Rose Dvorak, said.  “But what she lacks is playing experience against a higher level of talent.”

Now the focus is to send the talented youngster to play in the USTA National Winter Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona to face some of the best competition in her age division.

The Winter Championships run from December 27 to January 1 and if Dvorak qualifies she will then compete in the Copper Bowl Tennis Tournament held in Tucson from Jan 2 – 7.

Dvorak’s family must decide prior to December 3 if Sarah will be competing at Nationals over the holidays and their decision will be based on finances.

Dvorak’s mother, Rose, who is a tennis coach at St. Joseph High School believes that the cost of getting Sarah to play in Tucson during the holidays could exceed $3,000 a price tag that would put a strain on the families budget.

If anyone would like to help Sarah Dvorak with her travel expenses the family is accepting donations which can be mailed to:  Rose Dvorak, P.O. Box 1154, Kurtistown, HI 96760.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Junior Tennis | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment