Bothell’s Schuller reaches state tennis tournament

Junior netter is the first Cougar singles player to make state.

Bothell High junior Johnny Schuller became the first Bothell High singles player to qualify for state after finishing second at the recent 4A KingCo tennis tournament.

No. 1-seeded Schuller lost in the final to No. 2-seeded Ananta Ranganathan of Skyline, 2-6, 7-5, 3-6. Schuller, who was 7-1 in league and 8-2 overall at No. 1 singles this season, rallied from a 5-2 deficit to win the second set in the final. Earlier this season, Schuller beat Ranganathan, 6-1, 6-3.

“It’s kind of awesome to make a little bit of history for Bothell,” said Schuller, noting that his serve and forehand were working well in the final. “It felt good. I’ve been working hard. I got out what I put in, and it was exciting to make it to the final.”

Schuller began the tournament with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Ryan Wu of Newport. He then notched a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Sammy Bharadwaj of Eastlake and reached the final with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over David Liang of Newport.

“I like the tournament atmosphere. Some of my teammates came and supported me, so that was nice,” said Schuller, who plays in many United States Tennis Association tournaments.

With heaps of experience on his side, “He’s not nervous. He plays a lot of matches, so he’s confident, focused and dialed in,” said Bothell coach Mike Pizzo, adding that Schuller displays tenacity and goes for every shot.

Pizzo noted that Schuller — whose grade-point average is currently 4.0 and accumulative 3.94 — is committed to the game and plays four days a week in the morning before school. Schuller has his sights set on playing college tennis and strives to get better every day.

The class 4A state tournament will take place May 29-30 at the Columbia Basin Racquet Club and Hanford High in Richland.