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Vincentian's Chen is one of a kind

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Although he is only a sophomore, Vincentian Academy's No. 1 singles tennis player proved you are never too young to be the first to accomplish something great.

In his second year on the team, Chen did something no other tennis player has done: win a WPIAL tennis singles championship.

“It was tough, because our section is usually one of the toughest,” Chen said. “Josh Raymundo (from Mars) is a tough player, but he had to miss because of appendicitis.”

With arguably the toughest player out of the tournament, the pressure shifted to Chen, who took on the mantra of coach Al Skorupka.

“He always tells me to never give up and keep fighting,” Chen said.

The sophomore did just that and took the Class AA gold medal, advancing to states in the process.

“The past year, Derek trained very hard over at Oxford Athletic Club and played in a lot of tournaments,” Skorupka said. “He is tournament tough, and that translated into the WPIAL tournament.”

Skorupka said the sky is the limit for Chen, who shifts his attention to the PIAA bracket.

“It feels good to have that tennis banner in the gym, and I have to thank my teammates for that. They push me,” Chen said. “Now, I have to stay fit and mentally ready for states.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or

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