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Competitive nature: Anne Susdorf takes 52-match win streak into Foothill League play

Posted: September 23, 2009 2:28 p.m.
Updated: September 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Hart High junior tennis player Anne Susdorf is the defending All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Tennis Singles Player of the Year. She was 52-0 in the regular season.

It’s hard to say if it’s nature or nurture that makes Anne Susdorf arguably the best tennis player in the Foothill League as a junior.

It’s probably both.

Last year’s Foothill League singles champion had no equal on the court and suffered her only loss in a Hart uniform at the CIF-Southern Section Individual Tennis Championships.

The league was put on notice during the regular season though, when she finished 52-0 and beat reigning All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Singles Tennis Player of the Year Isabella Fraczek 6-1 in their only meeting.

And that was only the beginning.

Now as an upperclassman, Susdorf will likely spend the next two years with the coveted “player to beat” title — which is exactly how she wants it.

The talented Susdorf grew up in a house where she watched three of her brothers go on to play college sports, something only a fraction of all athletes are able to do.

Actually, two of her brothers were drafted by Major League Baseball teams.

Spend a few minutes talking to any of the Susdorfs and Anne’s rise to the top of Foothill League tennis is no surprise at all.

“The blueprint is definitely laid out for her, and she knows what she has to do in order to make it to the next level,” says Bill Susdorf, who played for the Texas Rangers’ organization after his collegiate baseball career and is now a baseball coach at Valencia High.

“As far as instilling the practice habits that are needed to get to the next level, my dad is probably one of the best people in the world at it,” Bill says. “I mean you can just look at the results.”

But it’s not just about practice, practice, practice — although that is absolutely a big part of it if you ask any of the Susdorf kids — Anne is a unique competitor that her mom attributes in part to growing up in a household full of boys.

“Everything was a competition,” Anne says with a smile that hides killer instincts on the court. “Best grades or for first place. Everything. It’s definitely competitive.”

Anne says after watching her brothers, she understands the commitment it takes and what she has to do in order to play in college and maybe after, which she listed as two of her goals right now.

“She’s grown up in a family full of boys, so I think possibly she might have a different perspective than other girls,” says her mother Katie.

Says Bill: “Off the court, she’s pretty nice. On the court, she’s so intense and focused.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s checkers or skiing or fishing. She wants to compete and she wants to win.”

Watching her brothers’ hard work also left an impression on her, Annie says.

Her practice schedule includes about an hour before school of working on serves and vollies, a workout with the team after her AP classes are finished and then scrimmage play at The Paseo Club.

“She knows you’re not just magically going to become good if you put your racket down when the season ends,” her mother says.

There also seems to be a competitive streak that runs through the family and seems to play a role in their success.

“Nobody in our house likes to lose,” Katie says with a laugh, “including me.”

Which means when the family spends quality time together, sometimes the board games can get a little intense.

“I tried switching from (traditional) board games to games more like ‘Guesstures,’ where it wasn’t about win or lose,” Katie says.

Steve jokes that his dad, who played tennis at Redlands, is the ultimate competitor, but the importance of practice was the biggest lesson plan in the house.

“When we were in high school, my dad would feed us about 200 baseballs a day after practice,” says Steve.

“And it rubbed off on me. (While playing at Fresno State) I would be the first guy out there on the practice field. It’s about going above and beyond.”

Anne is no exception.

Bill says that drive is part of what it takes to be successful at the next level, to want to practice every day and keep working to be the best.

For Anne, it seems to be working.



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