The Azusa High School District facing legal action after father of tennis standout Alyssa Pritchett alleges school prevented his daughter from attending a championshiph match

By Thomas Himes, Staff Writer
The father of a high school tennis player has sued the Azusa Unified School District, alleging school officials prevented his daughter from attending a championship match. Azusa High School senior Alyssa Pritchett hopes to attend college on an athletic scholarship. She moved a step closer to that goal last fall when she qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation singles tennis championships. (To continue, click thread).

“She wanted to get a scholarship for college and one of the requirements for Division I is you participate in the CIF championship,” said the girl’s father, Jerry Pritchett.

But Alyssa was disqualified from the tournament at Whittier Narrows County Park. According to the lawsuit, school officials refused to take her to the match and told her the wrong day of the tournament.

Pritchett said he made plans to take his daughter to the match, but school officials gave him the wrong date, telling him it was the day after the actual date.

“After it happened I went on the CIF’s website and it was right there in bold, the information was so easy to find,” Pritchett said of the tournament’s date. “I just trusted the school, that they knew what they were talking about.”

Azusa Unified Assistant Superintendent Brad Frick declined to comment.

“This is obviously a legal matter, so I can’t comment on it,” Frick said.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 27, seeks up to $25,000 in damages.

As a result of the error, Pritchett said his daughter lost an opportunity to receive college scholarships. Any money from the lawsuit, Pritchett said, would be put towards the cost of a college education.

“This should not have happened. It cannot have happened, but it did,” said the Pritchetts’ attorney, Daniel McMeekin.

The school’s tennis coach allegedly pulled Alyssa out of class to tell her she missed the match and was disqualified.

“She started crying because it was her life,” Pritchett said. “He just left her in class devastated.”

Azusa High School Athletic Director Sandy Gahring could not be reached for comment.

Alyssa continues to play tennis under a new coach at Azusa High, Pritchett said. She will be a senior this fall.

626-962-8811, ext. 2477

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  • Dantheman

    I totally agree with this parent, if a wrestler qualifiers for CIF and state, the coach goes and the school provides transportation, even when the state meet is in Fresno. When swimmers qualify for CIF in long beach, I see team buses and coaches with all the participants. Why should girls tennis be any different? It is the schools responsibility to provide their athlete with transportation if they’re fortunate enough to qualify for CIF competitions. This should be an honor for the school, for them to expect the athletes to pony up themselves is ridiculous, and not fair considering they would provide transportation for students in other individual sports.

  • Damon Lieu

    I was at Whittier Narrows on November 20 attending the CIF individual tournament. Word at the tournament that day was the school had the wrong date, not a transportation issue. Nevertheless, given the caliber of players playing at Whittier Narrows that day, it would have been unlikely that Miss Pritchett would have even won a game that day, no less the three matches necessary just to move to the final group of 16 players. Neither of the two singles players representing the Montview League won a game in their respective matches. Miss Pritchett is not even listed as having played any open or satellite level USTA tournaments in the past year, so she is not on any school’s radar for a tennis scholarship. The school still owes Miss Pritchett a huge apology because she missed the honor of just being with some of the top junior players in Southern California. But to claim or imply that she lost out on a division I tennis scholarship is ludicrous.

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