Mill Valley’s Segura-Trujillo brings heat as tennis season finally gets underway
With a serve as pinpoint accurate as it was violent, Mill Valley senior Rafa Segura-Trujillo left a lasting impression in his first tennis tournament on United States soil at Friday’s Mill Valley Invitational.
An exchange student from Cancún, Mexico, Segura-Trujillo simply couldn’t lose on Friday. In fact, it took until his fifth and final match before he lost so much as a game. Shawnee Mission North’s Michael Armstrong nabbed Segura-Trujillo’s lone setback on an otherwise pristine afternoon. Still, Segura-Trujillo cruised the rest of the way in a match that clinched first-place for both himself and his team.
A three-time champion in his home state of Quintana Roo, Segura-Trujillo had an eight-month layoff between competitive tennis as he awaited the start of boys tennis season in Kansas. A further obstacle presented itself in the difference in court surfaces: in his five years of playing the sport, Segura-Trujillo has competed exclusively on clay courts.
In the brief time allotted for outdoor practice leading up to the season-opener, it soon became evident to Trujillo that at least one area of his game bore little to no rust.
“I’m hitting amazing serves,” Segura-Trujillo said. “It’s the same serve I used to have. After eight months without playing, it’s hard to get that back — but I think my serve is the best thing I have.”
Often on Friday, the velocity of Segura-Trujillo’s serves proved overwhelming. As separate groups of schools congregated toward the tournament’s end, talk of Segura’s game could be overheard.
For as long as he could remember — as for many youth in Mexico — recreation meant soccer for Segura-Trujillo. Several uncles competed on professional teams and Segura-Trujillo occupied himself with the sport for years. Though he did play for the Jaguars’ boys soccer team in the fall, Segura-Trujillo fell in love with tennis years ago.
He harbored dreams of attending the University of Miami or UCLA, with their tennis programs in mind. Still, Segura-Trujillo wasn’t sure if he’d ultimately stick around the United States after his year abroad. That, apparently, has changed. And he may even stick around Kansas at that. Segura-Trujillo has drawn attention from several area colleges, one already having offered him a scholarship.
Mill Valley coach Eric Ammerman made it a goal before the season to send at least four boys to the state tournament. On Friday, he had plenty of reason to feel confident about that aspiration.
Joining Segura-Trujillo in going 5-0 for the Jaguars was Connor Mills, the pair’s respective first-place finishes in both singles competitions allowed Mill Valley to place first in the six-team tournament with 16 points ahead of SM North’s 13.
The Jaguars’ No. 1 doubles team of Joe Vincent and Eric Howes went 4-1 on Friday, finishing behind 5-0 Stephen Swank and Cole Mowrer of fourth-place Maranatha Christian Academy.
“These guys displayed very smart tennis overall,” Ammerman said. “It’s especially important in doubles. You have to dominate the net and minimize unforced errors. Joe and Eric were able to do that very well.”
Also on Friday, Armstrong and Vittorio Masina led the Indians in going 4-1 and placing second in No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively. Both SM North doubles teams also notched top-three finishes in both doubles pools.
The Indians’ No. 2 team of Dylan McDonald and Mauro Gonzalez placed second ahead of Mill Valley’s Blake Bunner and Connor Oswald. The Indians’ No. 1 team of Jared Rogers and Landon Schoemig placed third.
Stay tuned for more photos, and pick up the April 3 issue of The Dispatch.