Wake up at 7:30 a.m. Head to the Club. On court practice session. Academy practice. Teach a lesson to a beginning student. Receive a lesson from his coach. Head home. Dinner. Sleep. Repeat. This is a typical day in the life of 18-year-old Mitchell Iwahiro.
Mitchell was eight years old when his parents enrolled him in recreational tennis lessons. While in middle school, he participated in other sports like soccer and basketball but neither of those sports sparked his interest. He knew tennis was the sport to pursue when he was introduced to the JMG Tennis Academy in 2012. By sophomore year of high school, Mitchell decided that school’s team wasn’t challenging him the same way JMG was. He then decided to make the transition into home-schooling to allow more time for tennis training.
Mitchell has been loyal to Northern California his whole life; he was born in Roseville and grew up in the greater Sacramento region. When the time came to look at four-year universities, Mitchell already had his goals set on UC Davis. He had reasons to deflect on other schools that were interested in him: he didn’t want to play indoor tennis and he wasn’t interested in living in Southern California. He soon signed his National Letter of Intent to play Division l tennis at UC Davis on November 11, 2015. “I feel like you learn so much more about yourself in an individual sport, but I’m really excited for the ‘team’ atmosphere when I get to school” said Mitchell.
When Coach Joseph Gilbert was asked about Mitchell’s progress over the years, he simply responded “To see how much Mitchell has developed as a person and as a tennis player over the years has been extremely satisfying. I am proud of Mitchell’s accomplishments and know he will excel on and off the court at UC Davis”.
Unfortunately, injuries are bound to happen in any athlete’s career. He’s had wrist strains, elbow inflation, and an MCL tear that took him out for nearly a month, the longest he’s been off the court. “It’s all about feet, focus and fight. In this case when I tore my MCL, I was fighting to get back onto the court. I want to enter my first collegiate season strong and healthy.”
The UC Davis Men’s Tennis team has a total of ten players on its roster including Mitchell. Interestingly, most of his teammates are actually from Southern California. Academically, he plans on majoring in Community & Regional Development and minoring in Political Science. We wish Mitchell the best of luck off and on the court!