Athlete of the Week: Kat Ulich, Viewpoint School

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Kat Ulich

Malibu tennis player Kat Ulich got some payback on the tennis court last month. 

The Viewpoint School junior and her doubles partner, senior Lauren Angard, knocked off a duo from Campbell Hall School en route to claiming a second-place finish at the Gold Coast League Tournament at Brentwood School.

The 6-1, 6-1 semifinal win came a year after Ulich and Angard were defeated by a Campbell Hall doubles team in the same tournament. 

Their payback win and qualification for the CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament in Santa Barbara on Nov. 23 earned Ulich a nomination for The Malibu Times Athlete of the Week. 

Ulich said that this tennis season has been one of the best journeys of her life.

“As a junior, I was able to take one of the leadership positions on the team, and I have been so proud throughout the season of everyone on the team’s improvement,” she said. “Lauren has grown into one of my closest friends and role models.”

Ulich and Angard’s CIF opponent has not been set as of press time. The dynamic duo is heading into the event with an 18-2 record. 

The teens entered the season wanting another chance to compete in the Gold Coast League event. They made it to the competition’s semifinals in 2014 when they were defeated by a Campbell Hall squad. 

The girls entered this year’s tourney as the number two seed after beating host Brentwood in the quarterfinals. The Malibu teen and her partner jumped to an early lead against the Campbell Hall duo in the first match and never looked back as they secured the win. 

Ulich and Angard were defeated by another Campbell Hall doubles team in the finals, but the second-place finish qualified them for CIF. 

Ulich said she and Angard are successful because of their energy levels and the fact that their strengths complement each other on the tennis court. 

“Getting along with someone off the court plays a big role in your performance on the court,” she said, “and being able to find that connection with her and play for the last three years as a team has been great.” 

Ulich said that they will be ready for whomever they play. 

“We are prepping by playing after school together with training from our coach, Travis Kikugawa,” she said, “even though the rest of our team’s season has ended. Serving is a vital part of our game, so we try and hit at least a bucket or two [of tennis balls] after training.” 

Ulich also prepares for matches sometimes by playing against former Malibu Times Athlete of the Week and younger brother, Konrad Ulich. Both describe themselves as tennis players that thrive on hitting deep and hard balls toward the opposition. 

“Although it is great practice we don’t like to have such a competitive relationship and would rather support each other,” Ulich said. 

She began playing tennis at a young age, but revved up her participation in the game four years ago.

“I wanted to make the varsity team,” she said. “I love the individual competition that pushes you to do your best and the amazing friendships that come along with the team.”