By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
What a year it has been for Dane Elkins. In March, he became only the second player in 30 years to capture the top singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at the USA Racquetball National High School Championships in St. Louis.
Later that month, Elkins he took first place in the Boys 18s singles division at the CNRA Southern California Junior State Championships in Fountain Valley. In late May, he became the first in his sport to receive the Palisadian-Post Cup Award as the outstanding senior athlete at Palisades High and one day later was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.”
Last weekend, Elkins added one more prestigious title to his already impressive resume by teaming with Elena Dent of Estero, Florida, to win the 18-and-under mixed doubles division at the 2017 California National Guard Junior Olympic Championships in Stockton. The pair won 90 points and lost only 27 en route to first place.
Elkins, who lives in Brentwood and will attend Santa Monica College in the fall, also reached the 18-and-under finals in doubles with Ricardo Diaz of Stockton. The duo defeated Michael Fornero of Woodbridge, Illinois and Russell Chavez of San Antonio, Texas, 15-5, 15-3, in the quarterfinals, then beat Gavin Usher of Bozeman, Montana and Jeremy Dixon of Downers Grove, Illinois, 15-8, 15-3 in the semifinal round before falling 13-15, 15-6, 11-8 to Mauro Rojas and Lucas Le of Stockton in the championship match.
Elkins made the semifinals in the 18-and-under gold singles division as well, falling 15-5, 15-3 to Rojas. Elkins defeated Michael Pratt of Frisco, Texas, 15-6, 15-1, in the first round, then beat David Marsden of Arlington, Texas, 15-4, 15-6, to set up a showdown against Rojas, who eventually lost by one point in the finals to Wayne Antone of Eugene, Oregon.
Elkins proved he is one of the best players in the world in his age group at the USA National Junior Olympic Championships in Minneapolis last June. He made the U.S. indoor team for the second time after winning the 16s gold division doubles title with Diaz and taking third in singles.
Also having success at the tournament was Elkins’ younger brother Cody, a student at Paul Revere Middle School. He reached the quarterfinals of the 12-and-under gold singles division, took the bronze medal with Dane Bjorn of St. Louis in the 12-and-under doubles draw (beating Brady Hansen of Hudson, Iowa and Owen Forsythe of Shakopee, Minnesota in the third-place match) and was fourth in the 12-and-under mixed doubles division with partner Camila Gomez of Chula Vista.