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Catching up with tennis star Kayla Fujimoto
By Dave Oberhelman | Daily Herald Columnist

Geneva's No. 1 singles player Kayla Fujimoto has college offers from Iowa and Indiana, among others.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

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Published: 10/3/2009 10:37 PM

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Good things have come in threes for Geneva senior tennis player Kayla Fujimoto. Three Western Sun Conference titles. Three state tournaments, and sixth-place overall as a sophomore. A National Honor Society inductee who's been the Vikings' No. 1 singles player since she was a freshman, TennisRecruiting.Net ranks this California native 121st nationally in the Class of 2010. Wherever she plays in college - she has offers from Indiana and Iowa among other schools - Fujimoto hopes to study physical therapy. It's an offshoot of a knee injury, since repaired, that was discovered at age 11.

What was your knee injury, Kayla? An osteochondral defect.

An osteochondral defect? It was a hole in the bottom of the knee, in the bone around the kneecap, that randomly started hurting.

What playing surface do you prefer? I like hard courts, that's the main one, but playing on clay's also fun. It's a lot different, though. Playing on clay you slide a lot so your footwork is a lot more different. It's also slower so your points take a lot longer. It's harder to hit.

Which class is your least favorite? Right now I'd say physics. Usually I'm more of a math and science person.

What car do you drive? A Nissan Versa. It's smaller, but it feels really big and it's real easy to park. That's a priority.

Who's been your toughest tennis opponent? In the Chicago area I guess I'd say (2007 and 2008 state champ) Elizabeth Epstein. She graduated last year. She went to Francis Parker in the city (Chicago). I played her twice, I think, but she also trained at the same club as me, so we practiced together.

What's your favorite vacation destination? I like Southern California. I was born there and my dad's family is from there. And both my parents (David and Laurie) went to USC.

Do you surf? No.

What kind of racquet do you use? A Prince O3 Tour.

Speaking of Prince, what's your favorite music group? I like a lot of different kinds of music, but I really like Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz. It's more chill music and it's relaxing. You can listen to it whenever.

Big backfields

Whatever offensive coordinators or head coaches call them - Rhino, Jumbo, Stack-I - offensive sets designed to move the football only a few yards or even inches are as beautiful as they can be, well, "Ugly."

In Geneva's 28-20 win over Sycamore Sept. 26, 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle Frank Boenzi served as a fullback in goal-line situations for the Vikings. Boenzi was in there on Michael Santacaterina's 2-yard touchdown run and again on Santacaterina's 5-yard run to seal the win.

"We call that our 'Ugly' formation because Frank's not the best-looking guy," Santacaterina jokingly told Daily Herald correspondent Dave Heun. "But really, he is just awesome back there and he really wipes people out on those plays."

Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said, "It came in as 'Ugly' and I started calling it 'Pretty' because of P.C. (political correctness). Then it became 'Pretty Ugly.""

Heun reminds us that Wicinski deployed former Vikings linebacker Brennan Quinn - brother of current fullback-linebacker Connor Quinn - in short yardage situations, and Brennan Quinn even once caught a touchdown pass after faking a block.

Wicinski said he's also considering using 5-foot-11, 245-pound junior offensive lineman Rob Harden as a blocking back.

The name of that set?


No throwaway round

Wheaton Academy golfer Blake Biddle said he'd once shot a 63 during "a casual round." His 63 on Sept. 14 at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago came during competition, and was not just your average, run-of-the-mill round of 63. At the time, though, he didn't know it.

"No one told me it was the course record, so I didn't keep my score card," said Biddle, a senior who will play college golf at UNLV.

That's a shame. Biddle's 9-under-par round at the 17-team West Chicago Invitational broke the prior record of 64 shared by Ky Lafoom and Johnny Revolta. It also established a new Wheaton Academy record, one stroke lower than the 64 Biddle carded Aug. 20 at Weibring Golf Club in Normal, host course for the 2A state championship.

Biddle, who shot a personal-best 6-under 29 in a nine-hole Suburban Christian Conference match at Pheasant Run on Sept. 9, placed ninth in last year's 2A boys competition. Warriors teammate David Flynn is the defending champ.

Despite throwing away his St. Andrews score card, Biddle, a former Wheaton Christian Grammar School student who lives in St. Charles, did call it "a pretty memorable round."

Good thing. The St. Andrews folks want details.

"I've got to go in and make like a replica score card and remember what I did on each hole," Biddle said.