Winning the award is also due to a proper sell-job by the coach, as it is CAL coaches that cast votes. This year, Gilman plans to push hard for his captain to get him the award he feels is deserving.
“I’m going to sell him as much as I can,” he said. “With his record and everything, I’m going to push for Player of the Year. Along with his record, he is a kid of great character. It just comes natural to him. He’s more of a quiet kid and leads by example. He’s a good, solid kid.”
His achievements this season have been a direct result of the work he has put toward his sport. While many of high school’s best athletes are involves in many sports, Kirkpatrick plays just one and dedicates seven days a week over 12 months to his craft.
“It was tough not winning Player of the Year last year, but I feel like I’ve gotten better in the off-season and am older. I feel like I’m a lot stronger on the court this year. I worked out a lot and tried to improve my serve so I was making points quicker. I worked out in the gym at school, and played tennis mostly every day of the week. I took part in off-season tournaments on the weekends as well.”
Kirkpatrick will be attending Endicott College in the fall, where he will be playing collegiate tennis. Before that, however, he has his senior season of high school to focus on and possible awards to accept.
“It would mean a lot to me to win Player of the Year,” Kirkpatrick said. “I put the hard work and effort in. To beat the competition would be a nice way to go out as a senior.”