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SAM GANGWER , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Bjorn Hoffmann of Corona del Mar is the Register's boys tennis player of the year.

O.C. boys tennis player of the year: Corona del Mar's Bjorn Hoffmann

STAFF WRITER

NEWPORT BEACH – It was a final three-week stretch that could not have gone any better, and it came as a direct response to a performance he wanted removed from his memory.

Senior Bjorn Hoffmann dropped four sets all season as Corona del Mar’s top singles player. Two of those losses, however, came against San Marino in the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals, costing the Sea Kings two points in an 11-7 loss that knocked them out of the playoffs.

He had zero rhythm that afternoon, but it didn’t take long for him to rediscover his groove.

Hoffmann guided Corona del Mar to its first CIF USTA Southern California Regional title 11 days after being bounced from the CIF-SS playoffs. The Cal commit remained in top form at the CIF-SS Individual Championships, winning the coveted singles crown. Following that success, he was named Southern California’s Most Valuable Player by the National High School All-American committee.

Hoffmann can add another honor - the Register’s Orange County boys tennis player of the year - to that list of achievements.

“The (SoCal) regional, that was just an incredible team experience for not only myself, but for everyone on the team,” Hoffmann said. “We’ve had a couple really exciting moments as a team, but I think that one is one of the best experiences of my high school career.

“The Individual (Championship) was the best way I could’ve ended my senior year. That took a little while to set in, but that was pretty incredible.”

The senior performed superbly in the toughest events throughout his high school career, although he often finished as the runner-up. Hoffmann finished second in the prestigious Ojai Tournament as a junior and a senior, and was the second-place finisher in the Pacific Coast League singles tournament as a sophomore and junior.

In grabbing the CIF Individual crown this year as a senior, Hoffmann cemented his place among CdM’s all-time greats. He knocked off a quartet of five-star players in two days at the Seal Beach Tennis Club, capping his run with wins over Los Alamitos’ Riley Smith and Palm Desert’s Alex Kuperstein in the semifinals and championship match.

“Obviously (reaching) the finals of Ojai is no joke either, and I’m very proud of myself for that, but to finally kind of close one out and take a title definitely feels good,” Hoffmann said. “I wasn’t really expecting it. I knew I was playing at that high of a level, but I just took it one match at a time.”

The 2016 SoCal Regional championship banner already hangs prominently at CdM’s tennis complex, and a sign recognizing Hoffmann as the 2016 CIF Individual titlist will join it in the coming weeks.

But as CdM coach Jamie Gresh has repeatedly said over the past few years, Hoffmann’s legacy begins with his maturity and first-class attitude.

“I’m very proud of him,” Gresh added. “He’s such a nice guy that competes really hard with great sportsmanship and class. He’s exactly what I want our program to be about.”

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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