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Manteca’s Katie Kim claims 2nd SJS singles title
SJS tennis tourney
Manteca High senior Katie Kim shows off her championship hat and first-place medal earned Friday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament in Roseville.

Katie Kim cemented herself as the most accomplished tennis player in Manteca High history on Friday, repeating as singles champion in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament.

In a rematch of last year’s final, Kim defeated Vista del Lago’s Clarissa Sutami 6-2, 6-3 at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville. Earlier on Friday, the top-seeded Kim knocked off No. 4 Melia Simons of Rio Americano in the semifinal, 6-1, 6-0.

In the 2021 D-II final, Kim upset Sutami, who was then the top seed, 3-6, 7-5, 10-8.

One year later, she is more experienced and confident, resulting in a dominant senior campaign in which she has dropped just eight games in 19 matches.

“Honestly, what I said before the season about not being so worried about not winning was definitely a lie, or me trying to convince myself otherwise because I was scared that this match would be my last high school match,” Kim said, referencing a previous comment she made to the Bulletin.

“I think I just had more confidence in my own game instead of thinking about trying to work around her game,” she added.

Kim is just the third player from Manteca to claim a Section singles title and first to go back-to-back. She was also part of the runner-up pair in the SJS Division II doubles tournament her freshman year and the No. 1 player for the Buffs’ SJS Division III championship team.

“I definitely feel great about winning again, I’m just glad I was able to full through and defend my title,” Kim said. “Hopefully, someone from Manteca High in the future will step up and beat my record.”

Also competing at the Section tourney were fellow Buffaloes Chloe Marquis and Emma Ngo, who swept two opponents on Thursday to reach the semifinals. The Buffaloes’ fourth-seeded tandem lost to top-seeded Nia Macay and Gabby Perry of Vacaville, 2-6, 2-6.

Kim was glad to be accompanied by teammates at the tournament along with coach MaryAnn Tolbert and assistants Michael Lopez, Mackenzie VanWarnerdan and Beto Lopez.

“I could never go out there and play without their support,” Kim said. “Also, I had my doubles team that came with me from Manteca to represent by my side, so everything was just so much more hype. It really felt like we came to represent the school.”

The season is not over yet for the Valley Oak League’s team champion; today, the sixth-seeded Buffaloes will resume their SJS Division II team tournament quarterfinal at No. 3 Mountain House starting at 2 p.m. Their match was suspended on Wednesday because of rain, with Manteca leading, 3-1.

The winner plays No. 2 Del Oro of Loomis on the road next Monday.