LaGrange graduate nets Cornett scholarship

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, July 22, 2020

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Daily News

Former LaGrange High tennis player Albert Kim didn’t always win, but one thing that was never in question was his desire to compete.

“He’s a very strong competitor on the tennis court,” said David Traylor, an assistant coach on the LaGrange tennis team. “You talk to him person to person and he’s the nicest guy you’ll ever want to meet, but you put him on the tennis court, and you were going to have to really be good to beat Albert. You had to out-tough him, and outlast him.”

Kim, a four-year member of the tennis team, has been recognized for the solid work he did as a tennis player, and as a student.

Kim is the recipient of a scholarship named in honor of Joe Cornett, a local tennis enthusiast who died in 2012.

A tournament in Cornett’s honor is held each year at the Ann & Doc McCluskey Tennis Complex, and two local tennis players receive a scholarship in his name.

“I’m honored,” Kim said. “There are a lot of other players who could have (earned the scholarship).”

Kim’s senior season was unfortunately cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic, but he and his teammates were still able to play nine matches.

The Grangers finished the shortened season with an 8-1 record, and Kim had a major hand in that success as the number three singles player.

“He just refused to give in,” Traylor said. “That’s sort of the attitude we like to see on the tennis court.

“It makes us happy to have kids out there that play hard, and don’t give up. Albert personified all of those attributes, and we’re real proud of everything he’s doing.”

Kim, who plans on majoring in engineering at the University of Illinois, enjoyed the relationships he built during his time as a member of the LaGrange High tennis family.

“When I first came here, all my friends and my coaches were close to me, and friendly,” Kim said. “That was the main reason I stayed on the tennis team over here.”

As for his time as a high-school tennis player, Kim’s goal was to always make sure to give maximum effort on the court.

“If we win or lose, you try your best. That’s what we were taught,” Kim said. “Coach (Kenny) Moore coached me like that, to never get up.”

While Kim was a fierce competitor, Traylor said he was a joy for the other coaches and players to be around.

“Albert was a pleasure,” Traylor said. “He had just a great attitude, and was a lot of fun to be around. He always had a smile present, and brought a real contribution to the tennis program, and we’re just so proud of what he’s done.”