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University's Brymer boys tennis player of the year
It is six o'clock in the morning, and while millions of other high school students lie in bed, fighting the sunlight, Gage Brymer is heading out the door.
Time to go to work.
This morning is like almost every other one for the standout University tennis player, starting with a one-mile run – half a mile to a nearby lake, half a mile back. More than enough time to reflect on his back-to-back Ojai and CIF singles championships, his trio of Division 1 team titles, his just-completed undefeated junior season and the game responsible for it all.
"To be honest, I don't know if I want to think about all the things I've done already," says Brymer, who has been selected the 2012 Orange County boys tennis player of the year, "because that's something you really only do if you've completed it. I don't want to think that way because I feel like I have so much ahead of me that I want to accomplish."
The early-morning running started a year ago, as did his weight training, when Brymer felt he needed to compliment all of his work on the tennis court with regimens that strengthened his conditioning and stamina.
"I've really built my strength off the court with a weights workout my trainer set up for me," he says. "Full body, upper body, torso, legs; everything combined in that workout is really one of the keys to my success.
"It's not just how I'm performing, but how I'm feeling. Every day I feel secure and strong."
Two hours of "about 200 cross-court and down-the-line shots," await. As does his usual 30-minute window for practicing serves. Point play and full-court drills too in addition to countless other shots at Woodbridge Tennis Club. Monday through Friday only, though; weekend practices are an entirely different two- to three-hour monster.
"I love improving," he says, "and I feel like I'm at the point where I've got my foundation pretty set. I've worked so many hours on that core tennis which we maintain every day in practice.
"I have so much fun improving little parts of my game to try and make it the perfect game. That's what keeps me going."
Last September, after nabbing All-American honors as a sophomore, Brymer's impeccable game earned him a spot in the Junior U.S. Open.
Destination: New York.
"Having the chance to play there was a life changer," he says. "It was one of those things where I came back and saw a lot of things differently ... It was the most influential trip I've ever taken."
Another mile in the books, another sunrise in the rear view, Brymer gets back home, unstraps his Vibram FiveFingers running shoes and prepares for another full afternoon of the sport he loves.
It is seven o'clock in the morning and, for the second time this morning, Gage Brymer is heading out the door.