Palisades High School boy’s tennis team took its 14th consecutive City Section tennis championship on May 2 against Grenada Hills, with a final score of 19 to 10.5.
“We knew we were facing one of Granada Hill best team in years,” Coach Bud Kling said. “We knew how important it was to get a quick start.”
Kling said that during the first rotation, the boys won three of the singles matches and two out of three doubles matches.
“That gave us a good cushion – 6 to 2 ½,” said Kling who was inducted into the Los Angeles City Section Hall of Fame in 2017 and the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame last year.
The team continued building on its lead. When the third doubles team of sophomore Caleb Scoot and freshman Zac Cohen defeated Grenada Hills number two double team of Leo Sun and Dominic Ablakhad, 6-2, the team clenched its 14th title.
Kling said the team had outstanding singles play from senior Jex Frankell, who has committed to Wesleyan University. Frankell beat Grenada Hills’ number one player Kristian Sharma 6-4. He beat the Highlander’s number two player David Tinajero, 6-2, and that team’s number three player Aydan Fatu, 6-1.
PaliHi sophomore Neel Josh won all three of his sets at number two singles, including a tiebreaker with Fatu. Pali senior Aidan Adham won two sets in the number three singles spot.
Kling credited his teams captains and double players Peter Garff, Todd Valkov and Connor Woolton for the leadership, and sophomore doubles player Max May for helping bring the championship trophy home.
PaliHi has set a record for the most consecutive titles – nine in Division 1 and five in the open division (debuted in 2018). Since the school opened in 1961, boys have won 39 titles.
Kling came to Palisades High School in 1977 as a substitute teacher and by the next year he was full-time. He had previously coached football at University High but became the boys’ tennis coach at Pali in 1979, and over the years his teams have won four national championships.
And with this most recent win, the team gave the coach, who just turned 76, his 30th City title.
In 1984, Kling also took over the girls’ program, coaching until 2008. He returned as a coach in 2015. During those 26 years, his teams took 17 City titles.
Kling, who just turned 76 last week, now has 30 City titles for the boys and 21 for the girls, giving him a total of 51 titles.
Sports reporter Steve Galluzzo wrote in a May 2 L.A. Times Story (“Palisades Wins Record 14th Consecutive City Section Tennis Championship”), Kling has won “more than any coach in any sport in section history.”