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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Emma Ngo, Manteca tennis
AOW Emma Ngo

The Valley Oak League’s singles crown remains at Manteca.

Ngo followed in the footsteps of two-time champion Katie Kim last Thursday after edging out Central Catholic’s Mianna Robinson in a 2-hour, 15-minute marathon, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (5) at Manteca Regional Tennis Center.

Robinson was also the runner-up last year, and she proved to be a tough out for Manteca’s new No. 1 player in all three of their matches. Ngo has moved two rungs up Manteca’s ladder since Kim and No. 2 Chloe Marquis have graduated.

Manteca coach Mary Ann Tolbert is impressed with how the junior has stepped into her new role.

“This is (a product of) all the time she has put in outside of regular practice (with the team),” Tolbert said. “She’s not just showing up during league, she’s out here at night, playing over the summer and this those tournaments over the weekends.”

Ngo had to work past a frustrating opening set in which she led 3-0 until she got the yips with her forehand. She bounced back with a strong second set, and the third went back and forth until found a way battle through the nerves and fatigue.

“She’s competitive,” Tolbert said. “For a young kid to be able to hold her composure like that, I’m super proud of her.”

Ngo and the Buffaloes will be in action today for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV team tennis tournament. They’ll host Casa Roble at Manteca Regional Tennis Center starting at 2 p.m. Then on Thursday in Roseville, she’ll compete in the SJS Division II Individual Tournament for a third time.