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Foothill League boys tennis preview: Canyon's Jason Ferlianto, tranquil talent

Even-keeled Ferlianto leads Canyon’s boys tennis team, but that’s just one of his passions

Posted: March 21, 2010 10:17 p.m.
Updated: March 22, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Canyon junior tennis player Jason Ferlianto keeps his cool on the court, and he's already won the Foothill League singles title and led the Cowboys to the playoffs. But there's much more to Ferlianto, who also plays several instruments, donates his time to local organizations and maintains a 4.3 grade point average.

 
Canyon isn’t just looking to be part of the Foothill League pack this season, or compete for the league’s last playoff spot.

It wants to be a contender.

Experience, talent and leadership explain why the team is so hungry. The Cowboys’ 5-1 record in preleague contests speaks volumes.

But the loudest reason might come from the quietest source.

Junior No. 1 singles player Jason Ferlianto usually won’t even yell as he scores big points against his opponents.

Always calm, cool and collected, Ferlianto has Canyon poised for a chance to upset the reigning league champion Valencia.

“When he goes into a game, he goes into sort of a zone totally focused on the game, and he doesn’t need anything to distract him, doesn’t want anything to distract him,” says Canyon head coach Kent Ganevsky. “He’s just totally focused. He’s tough to play because he’ll give you nothing to hit, and you’re going to be running.”

Ferlianto spent most of his first two seasons running through league competition.

He won the league’s singles title as a freshman, which he followed up with a loss to eventual champion Jordan Hovis in last year’s postseason league tournament.

Not that Ferlianto has time to dwell on a tough loss.

If he did, he probably wouldn’t be able to maintain a 4.3 GPA, nor would he retain membership in the California Scholarship Federation, marching band and drum line.

He wouldn’t be able to serve as the president of his school’s Key Club, or donate his time to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital or New Leash on Life, his church’s youth group.

He wouldn’t have the time to practice the several instruments that he plays, including the saxophone, accordion and year-round competitive piano.

On the court, he wouldn’t have the time to help make his teammates better.

But Ganevsky says that because of his focus, there’s no danger of other obligations pulling his attention away from tennis.

Perhaps most impressively, Ferlianto does it all without the prototypical size of many of his competitors.

It’s something that he’s learned to work around with years of practice.

“I know I’m not the most athletic kid out there,” Ferlianto says. “But I really looked up to players like Michael Chang who move really well.”

Despite having a quiet, unassuming frame and nature, Ferlianto more than makes up for it with court savvy, an incredible return game and a tennis IQ that helps him anticipate as well as anyone in the league.

Golden Valley head coach Holly Ingersoll says what stands out most about his game is the way Ferlianto covers so much of the court.

“I don’t know if he was recognizing patterns or reading where the ball is going,” Ingersoll says. “But he’s always able to get to the ball.”

Ganevsky says Ferlianto not only leads by setting an example on and off the court, he takes time in practice to help the younger kids.

“I noticed the last week or two, he’s been going over to the JV players, and he’ll come over and work with them for about five or 10 minutes on their forehand or positioning,” Ganevsky says.

Thanks to Ferlianto’s efforts, Canyon could be positioned to win the league this season.

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