The Evolution of SCV Tennis Begins with Valencia High
December, 2014 - Issue #122
Longtime Valencia High tennis coach Annie Kellogg recalled a point during this girls tennis season when she took her team on a stroll down memory lane.

Kellogg, realizing she had one of the better teams (And that's saying a lot.) in her two-decade tenure at the school, wanted her girls to look at the boards that surround the tennis courts at Valencia High School.

Every board attached to the fencing serves as a championship banner for the Vikings tennis program.

She wanted her 2014 team to understand what Valencia High tennis stood for and that this team could do great things, just like they did in the past.

And then this team did what the past ones did - win a Foothill League championship.

Valencia tennis doesn't get mentioned regularly with the Hart, Valencia and Canyon footballs of this world or the Saugus cross country teams. However, no Santa Clarita Valley fall sports team has won more Foothill League titles since 2002 than Valencia girls tennis - which claimed its 10th in 13 years with the 2014 team's championship.

The Valencia girls also made it to CIF championship matches in four straight years (2005-08).

Counting boys tennis Foothill League championships, head coach Annie Kellogg's teams have won 21 Foothill titles since 2002 - the most of any coach in the SCV in that time frame.

She has to be doing something right.

"She's a great coach. She really cares about us as individuals and goes beyond the court to help us," says senior Tina Inchalik. "She's always been really involved with us. She's helped me look at the big picture and take little steps to get there."

This is how Kellogg sees the big picture, which is also how she describes the success she has had coaching.

"Enthusiasm and energy. Having a lot of discipline. But it starts with having enthusiasm and energy, doing all the extra stuff that makes it really fun for the kids," Kellogg says. "Being committed to growing, seeing the players grow with the physical aspects, the mental aspects and the mechanics."

This is Kellogg's 20th year at the school - she has been there since the beginning.

When she first arrived, she remembers maybe three girls on the first tennis team with tennis experience.

This area wasn't exactly a tennis hotbed in the mid-1990s.

Kellogg recalls looking in a phonebook when she first arrived and seeing one tennis club - the Newhall Tennis Club.

But 20 years later, with much credit to the work Kellogg has put in, the SCV's reputation in prep tennis has grown significantly.

Part of that success can be pointed to Kellogg's desire to compete with other top Los Angeles area prep programs and her drive to win.

"What athlete wants to lose?" Kellogg asks. "I played three sports in high school. I played volleyball, basketball and tennis. I'm competitive. I don't know what athlete likes to lose. You have to love winning. It's fun."

And when her teams do lose, her mood certainly changes.

But even her rivals respect her and her program.

"Annie is the pinnacle as far as tennis coaches go," said longtime Hart High tennis coach Chris Mansfield. "She trains her kids so well, keeps them focused and makes them better."

Says Valencia graduate Michelle Stock, who was one of the valley's top tennis players from 2003 to 2006 and played at Cal Poly Pomona: "She kept everyone interested. In high school, your attention span is 10 minutes. Just the fact that she was interested in what we were doing [made us better]. Tennis is all practice. You have to hit a million balls, hit faster balls. It's repetition. It's not a sport you learn in a couple of months. The fact that she kept us interested and motivated was a key thing."

Kellogg says a reason her teams win with frequency is the number-one player on her team is not the most important player. It's the bottom players, she says, who she works hardest with to elevate their game, giving each squad more depth.

But the energy, it seems, isn't as much as it used to be.

Kellogg, who still plays competitive tennis at a high level, resigned as boys head coach over the summer.

She is just focusing on the girls and says she plans on sticking around another couple of years.

Valencia tennis isn't going anywhere any time soon.
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