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Prep boys tennis: Tennis tops among Noh's many pursuits

Published May 22, 2013 3:16 pm

Prep boys tennis • Jihoon Noh plans to try walking on at BYU next season.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There is a balance between the racquet and the bow.

Breathing is crucial, positioning essential. Dedication and discipline are required. To find success on the tennis court or in the concert hall, it takes countless hours of practice and a single-minded focus to excel.

Highland's Jihoon Noh found the balance. Between advancing to the second round of the Class 4A boys state tennis tournament, graduating with a 3.9 GPA with International Baccalaureate coursework and playing the violin with the Utah Youth Philharmonic, Noh constantly is balancing his passions and working to improve upon them.

"The violin requires a lot of concentration to tune everything out," Noh said. "It has helped me with my discipline and being able to pursue the things that I am passionate about."

What the lover of Tchaikovsky is truly passionate about is tennis and the relationships he has formed on the tennis court. He engages the JV players and leads by example. Whether bursting through grueling wind sprints or hitting an extra basket of balls to improve on his powerful serve, Noh earned the captain's job by earning the entire team's respect, something expected from a player who already has enrolled at Brigham Young and plans to trying walking onto the men's team next year.

"Overall, I love everything about the sport," Noh said. "Practice lets me work with everyone to improve, and the matches give me a chance to challenge myself and prove what I've learned."

His résumé includes a state title at No. 1 doubles his freshman year and advancing far into the next three tournaments as a singles player.

"I work hard on playing smart and being calm on the court," Noh said. "I don't worry about what I can't control. I just try to play my best and go after the opportunities as they come."

What doesn't get highlighted in the record books with Noh is how willing he is to work with his teammates. When an autistic member of the team needed a partner for doubles, Noh immediately paired up with him.

"Tennis is first and foremost supposed to be fun," Noh said. "It doesn't matter if you're really good or not — everyone who wants to play should be involved.

Noh's character even helped lure the team's coach to the school. Highland officials coaxed Mike Epperson with the opportunity to coach Noh, even if for just one season.

"They told me it's worth it to coach at Highland because Jihoon is a stud," Epperson said. "With his abilities and talent while never being arrogant or condescending, they said that you would want to be a part of it."

Epperson said that Noh is every coach's dream and expects him to find success at the next level.

"He's the hardest worker of any kid I've coached," Epperson said. "He lives up to a lot of expectations. The kid is going to be a winner in life no matter what he does." —

Meet Jihoon Noh

Noh plans to attend Brigham Young University next fall and try walking on to the men's tennis team.

He plans on serving an LDS mission after one year in school before focusing on tennis and a career in medicine.

Noh practices the violin up to three hours a day while practicing tennis and holding down a part-time job.