Sunday, April 21, 2013

With artificial arm, Hunt plays for Div. I college

   Thomas Alexander Hunt is 8-10 at No. 6 singles for a struggling Saint Mary's team.
   But he might be the most remarkable player in college tennis, especially in Division I.
   The freshman from New Zealand was born without half of his left arm, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in the featured story of Wednesday's sports section.
   Hunt is scheduled to play today when Saint Mary's (9-13, 3-5 West Coast Conference) visits Sacramento State (14-12, 9-1 Big Sky Conference) in the regular-season finale for both teams. The dual match is set to begin at 1 p.m. at the Rio del Oro Racquet Club.
    Hunt's left arm ends just above where the elbow should be. His parents fitted him for a prosthetic arm months after his birth.
   "Some people don't use a prosthetic arm until they are older, and it takes them a while to get used to it," Hunt told the Chronicle. "I'm glad I got mine early because I became very comfortable with it at a young age."
   Hunt grew up on a 2,000-acre farm in a tennis-playing family. Thomas Alexander (he goes by Thomas and Alex) learned how to place the ball in his artificial hand and toss it to serve. He also developed a one-handed backhand.
   Hunt eventually met Lan Bale, a coach and former professional player who had connections with college coaches in the United States, and wound up at Saint Mary's in the San Francisco Bay Area. 
   No. 18 Cal def. No. 42 Stanford 4-3 at Stanford. No. 1 singles: No. 37 Ben McLachlan (C) def. No. 42 John Morrissey (S) 6-2, 6-4. Team records: Cal 13-8 overall, 5-1 Pacific-12 Conference; Stanford 11-10, 3-4.
   UC Irvine def. No. 71 Pacific 4-2 in Irvine. No. 1 singles: Ryan Cheung (UCI) def. Alex Golding 6-2, 6-2. Team records: UC Irvine 8-16, 4-1 Big West Conference; Pacific 13-8, 3-2.
   UC Davis def. UC Riverside 7-0 in Riverside. No. 1 singles: Toki Sherbakov (UCD) def. Jimmy Roberts 6-2, 7-6. Team records: UC Davis 8-11, 1-4 Big West Conference; UC Riverside 3-18, 0-5.
   USF def. Gonzaga 4-3 in San Francisco. No. 1 singles: Alvaro Nazal (G) def. Thai Tu 6-0, 6-2. Team records: USF 12-7 overall, 4-4 West Coast Conference; Gonzaga 7-14, 0-8.
   No. 9 Cal def. No. 12 Stanford 4-3 in Berkeley. No. 1 singles: No. 20 Nicole Gibbs (S) def. No. 7 Anett Schutting 6-2, 6-2. Team records: Cal 15-5 overall, 9-1 Pacific-12 Conference; Stanford 16-4, 8-2.
   No. 58 Santa Clara def. Portland 4-3 in Portland, Ore. No. 1 singles: No. 28 Katie Le (SC) def. Maja Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4. Team records: Santa Clara 12-8 overall, 7-1 West Coast Conference; Portland 8-13, 1-7.
   UC Davis def. Sonoma State 6-1 in Davis. No. 1 singles: Sara Celma (SS) def. Layla Sanders 6-4, 3-2, retired. Note: The Aggies played without their top singles player, Megan Heneghan, who has been plagued by a right foot injury for several weeks. Team records: UC Davis 10-12, Sonoma State 15-10.
   USF def. Gonzaga 6-1 in Spokane, Wash. No. 1 singles: Andrea Ka (USF) def. Katie Edwards 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Team records: USF 13-8 overall, 4-4 West Coast Conference; Gonzaga 9-12, 0-8.

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