Athletes of the Week (April 23-28): Kevin Campos, Jimmy Cooley

Kevin Campos and Jimmy Cooley have been named the Daily Journal’s Athletes of the Week for the week of Monday, April 23.

Campos and Cooley are a doubles duo for the Richmond boys tennis team who earned a bid to the 4A Mideast Regionals by winning two of their three matches at last week’s Sandhills Athletic Conference Tournament.

They defeated Lumberton’s Connor Kinlaw and C.J. Nemeroff in the first round, moved past Scotland’s Nyjel Collins-Jackson and Sam Poage in the quarterfinals and then lost to Lumberton’s Josh Britt and Cole Lewis in the semifinals.

“I feel like me and Jimmy know what to do in doubles, so it’s just been easier to grow over time. We both know the game and what we have to do,” Campos said of the duo’s chemistry. “The call-outs were the main thing we worked on and it showed on conference day.”

The Raider duo fell to Collins-Jackson and Poage from rival Scotland when they first met in March and then again on Senior Day two weeks ago, but they got their revenge during the conference tournament with a three-set victory (6-3, 3-6, 6-4).

“It felt amazing. That was honestly the best game that me and Kevin played,” Cooley said. “Our teamwork was on point, we knew what we were going to do with the ball and our communication was impeccable. It’s almost like we were reading each other’s minds with the plays.”

Campos and Cooley will compete as the No. 14 overall seed at regionals and are scheduled to take on third-seeded duo Davis Cromer and Zach Tapper from Durham Jordan. The match will start at 1 p.m. on Friday at Cary Tennis Park.

“We’re going to be facing very tough opponents and we don’t have any room to slack. We have to come in really strong out the gate and really put the hammer to them,” Cooley said.

“We’ve go to do what Coach (Patrick) Hope says and just take it one point at a time. If we lose one point, gain it back on the next point and keep going,” Campos added.

Below are Campos and Cooley’s answers to questions presented by the Daily Journal:

Q: Who’s your favorite athlete and/or team? Why?

KC: Julia Bornhorst, my girlfriend, because her dedication to soccer is kind of what drives me to dedicate myself more into tennis. For her, it’s soccer day in and day out … so that’s what makes me come here more and practice by myself.

Q: What’s something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

KC: I’m very good at making people uncomfortable. I think everybody on the team can say that just one word (from me) and they’re just like, ‘I don’t want to be on this team anymore.’ It’s a natural talent that I have mastered.

Q: Who’s your favorite athlete and/or team? Why?

JC: Probably Michael Phelps or Rafael Nadal, because they’re both the greatest of all time in their respective sports and they demand perfection. They always strive to be better each and every day and they hate to lose just like me.

Q: What’s something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

JC: I’m one of the only openly gay Eagle Scouts in the country.

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