Bailey Gong’s reign as the premier high school boys tennis player in Tulare County is stronger than it was last year.
Gong, the 2014 Times-Delta/Advance-Register boys tennis player of the year, is having another dominant season for the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers.
Gong posted a 12-0 regular-season record, and won the singles championship at the 2015 Visalia Invitational. During his title run at the Visalia Invitational, Gong dropped just six total games in four sets (8-0, 8-2, 6-1, 6-3 scores).
He posted five 6-0, 6-0 wins during Central Sequoia League dual matches, and won the Central Sequoia League singles title with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Immanuel’s Aaron Reimer in the final.
Gong, a junior, is the clear favorite to win the singles title at the Central Area Championships, a crown he captured last season.
The Central Area Championships are May 8-9 at Golden West.
Seedings for the area tournament will be determined later this week, but Gong’s spot as the No. 1 seed is pretty much an automatic.
The major story line for Gong is his attempt to climb up the Central Section singles hierarchy ladder.
During his freshman and sophomore seasons, Gong reached the quarterfinals of the Central Section Championships.
In terms of recruiting status, Gong’s star is on the rise.
The Tennis Recruiting Network rates him a three-star recruit, and the No. 69 recruit in the state for the Class of 2016 (No. 326 in the nation).
Gong dropped a close 7-5, 6-4 decision to Garces’ Dylan Simonsen during last year’s section quarterfinals. Simonsen is listed as a four-star recruit by the Tennis Recruiting Network, ranked No. 28 in the state for the Class of 2017.
The defending Central Section champion is Clovis North’s Daly Meinert. Meinert, a sophomore, is rated as a five-star recruit by the Tennis Network, and the nation’s No. 79 recruit for the Class of 2017.
The Central Section playoffs commence Thursday, and the top local favorite for a section championship is CVC in Division III.
Led by Gong, the Cavaliers are the No. 1 seed in the 10-team bracket.
CVC will host the winner of No. 8 Independence-No. 9 Madera on May 5.
The Cavaliers’ top challenger for the Division III title is likely to come from Immanuel, the No. 2 seed.
CVC and Immanuel split their CSL dual matches. CVC won 6-3 on March 17, and Immanuel won 6-3 on April 9. Both teams finished with 9-1 league records.
The Division III team championship match is slated for May 13.
Mt. Whitney is the No. 5 seed in Division III.
West Yosemite League champion Redwood is the No. 7 seed in Division I. The Rangers will host No. 10 Garces on Thursday.
Redwood was promoted to Division I this year after capturing the 2013 Division II championship. The Rangers reached the 2014 Division II semifinals.
There are four county teams in the Division II bracket — No. 5 Porterville, No. 6 Monache, No. 9 El Diamante and No. 10 Golden West.
On Thursday, the Miners are in Bakersfield to face No. 8 West, and the Trailblazers visit No. 7 Sanger.
Granite Hills is the No. 1 seed in Division V.
Mission Oak had two of the top three finishers in the singles division of the East Yosemite League tournament that concluded on Monday.
Delano’s Carls Kaubat won the singles title. The next two finishers were Mission Oak players — Daniel Garcia was second and Raul Gomez third.