2017 Boys Tennis Player of the Year: Exchange student Lozano enjoys time at Skyline
FRONT ROYAL — Matias Lozano made the most of his time at Skyline High School this season.
The exchange student from Chile stayed busy in the spring as he played for both the boys tennis team and the boys soccer team.
Lozano not only played on both teams, but he was one of the top players on each team.
“Some days I had to play both on the same day,” Lozano said. “So it was pretty tough. I got exhausted, but that it was pretty fun.”
Lozano, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2017 Boys Tennis Player of the Year, started the season off just playing soccer, but then decided to try out for the tennis team as well.
Once he began playing tennis for the Hawks he quickly climbed up the team ladder and played at No. 2 singles for the first part of the season.
Halfway through the year he moved up to the No. 1 singles spot and remained there the rest of the season.
One of the differences Lozano had to get used to was playing on hard courts. In his hometown of Talca, Chile, he was used to playing on clay courts, which are slower courts.
“At first I remember him saying, ‘oh my gosh, these courts play so fast,'” Skyline coach Josh Brown said. “Because he was used to being able to slide on the clay and have enough time to get to the balls and things like that. But he made a great adjustment.”
Lozano went 14-3 for the Hawks and advanced to the Conference 28 individual tournament singles semifinals, where he lost to James Monroe’s Marshall Wood — just one win shy of a regional berth.
Lozano, who also led Skyline’s boys soccer team with 13 goals, said he was glad he chose to play tennis this season.
There were days where Lozano would play for the tennis team and then leave to go to the soccer game, which typically was played at the same place.
He said in Chile they don’t have high school tennis teams, so he just played at the local clubs and with his friends.
“The team was always there for me when I needed it,” Lozano said. “It was pretty nice to play with this team and feel like you have guys that are here for me. My first time playing (on a) team — it was pretty nice.”
Lozano said he arrived in Front Royal just a day or two after school had started. He said because of the late start he wasn’t able to play any sports in the fall, and he felt like that made his transition to America even tougher.
“The beginning was pretty tough,” Lozano said. “I was homesick for a couple months, but you get used to it. You just live your new life. Everything is good here. The beginning is tough, but then you enjoy everything, every single person. I don’t know if I want to go back now.”
Lozano said he did have someone he could turn to for advice with this experience — his brother. He said his brother was also an exchange student several years ago, and so he tried to talk to him when he could to help get him through the first months of the high school year.
Lozano said that he loves hitting his forehand, but he feels like his backhand is pretty solid too.
Brown said that the other players on the team loved having Lozano around and learned a lot from him.
“They liked having him around just because he was able to show them things that some of them have never seen,” Brown said. “Especially with some of the different serve techniques, where he would do like a kick serve where the ball would bounce so high. And they were like I want to try that.”
Lozano said that he heads back to Chile on June 26, but he was planning on spending a couple weeks in California before that.
He said that he was very happy with his time in the United States, and was glad that he made some new friends.
“Thanks to sports I made friends,” Lozano said. “Once I go back to Chile, I hope I can keep in touch with them. And if I can someday come back and visit them that will be nice.”