A short time after it began, the coronavirus pandemic forced the CIF to cancel the rest of the spring sports season, which meant an abrupt ending to the high school careers of spring sports seniors around the central valley. As a way of honoring some of these outstanding seniors, our Sports Central team will be presenting a series of stories called “Senior Standouts” each Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday through the end of June.
CLOVIS, Calif. (KGPE) — Growing up in the Sodersten family, you had to be ready to compete.
There’s Hannah, a former Fresno State golfer.
Mikayla, who until recently, was running at Oregon State.
Blake, the Friday night starter for the CSUN pitching staff this year.
And the youngest of the four siblings Brodie, a Clovis High senior who emerged as one of the best high school tennis players in the Valley.
“I’ve grown up around competition my entire life, whether it was ‘who can finish the cheeseburger fastest,'” says Brodie. “We all just work hard, and it’s just in our genes I guess.”
Soccer was Brodie’s main sport until the seventh grade, when his mom Janine, a successful high school tennis coach at the time, was insistent that he give tennis a try.
“I was not happy about it, and after a day, I just fell in love with it,” says Brodie.
“I think seeing his brothers and sisters excel at a sport,” says Janine. “I think it was somewhat important to him to find his niche, something separate from them (his siblings).”
Brodie’s tennis development got a ‘big’ boost, from a ‘big’ growth spurt during his junior year.
“I’m playing a lot faster. I’m a lot faster on the court. I’m hitting the ball a lot harder,” says Brodie.
It helped a 5-foot-8 freshman turn into a 6-foot-3 senior.
“We thought this year, this is his year,” says Janine, about Brodie’s senior year of high school tennis that got cancelled because of the pandemic.
We’ll never know how his high school career may have ended, but his tennis journey isn’t over. This late bloomer will be playing for Ventura Junior College next year, with hopes of eventually playing tennis at a Division I school.
“Some of the kids that I’ve been playing, have been playing since they were four (year’s old), and they’ll come up to me after the match, and say, ‘you now, I’ve been playing tennis this long, and for you to be that good (having started so late), that’s just incredible,'” said Sodersten.