Freshman phenom fired up for the future

Lake Washington High netter takes second at state.

Never stop fighting.

Lake Washington High tennis player Brett Pearson said that if he’s having a tough day at school or on the court, he can’t let those instances get the best of him. Hit the reset button and move on to better things.

Last fall, Pearson — a freshman who attends Tesla STEM High in Redmond — lost in the 3A KingCo singles final to Cameron Yang of Bellevue in straight sets. In May, Pearson had since sprouted three inches to 6-foot-1 and defeated Yang in a district match leading up to the final. That rematch triumph raised Pearson’s confidence level heading into the state tournament in Kennewick.

At state, Pearson, 15, won three straight matches before losing in the final, 6-3, 6-4, to Alan Yim of Lakeside (who also beat him in the district final). Pearson knocked off opponents from Mount Spokane (6-1, 6-0), Bellevue (6-2, 6-0) and O’Dea (3-6, 6-3, 6-3) to blast into the state final.

On finishing second at state, Pearson said his emotions straddled the line between disappointment and excitement.

“Disappointment, ‘cause I was in the match. I was like, ‘Dude, I could have won that, I could have been state champion,’ which is something that’s incredible. But then also excitement, because I’m excited for the future,” he said during a recent interview at Central Park Tennis Club in Kirkland, where he and his family are members. A couple points here and there and the outcome could have landed in his favor, Pearson added.

LW coach John Stalker was impressed with Pearson’s shots and strategy against Yim — a senior who’s going to Harvard University — and others at state.

“Brett, when he had a chance to be aggressive, he took it. And when he’s on the defensive, he hit really smart shots. He was mentally so strong,” said Stalker, who has known the Pearson family since he was dad Chris’ senior hitting partner at Central Park in the early 1980s. Chris was a 3A state singles champion at Newport High in 1981; Chris’ older brother Scott was a state champion at Newport as well.

Stalker has watched Brett and his twin sister Meagan develop their games at Central Park. Brett’s game has gone the power route as opposed to spin and placement shots in his early days.

Brett tried his hand at tennis at age 3 and has been playing competitively since age 8.

“Whenever I pick up a racket, I just feel really good. Especially after you’re done with homework and you go out and play. I love playing tennis,” he said. “I have a physics test (to study for) today, so I can’t play. And that like hurts me, ‘cause I wanna go out there and play. I see people playing outside, and I’m like, ‘Dang it, I wanna play today.’”

Brett competes in United States Tennis Association tournaments and figures he’s won about 20-25 titles over the years. He played at the team zonals in Texas last July and plans on joining the Pacific Northwest squad at that tournament again next month.

Speaking of teaming up with others, Brett was thrilled to notch second overall in the team standings at state with LW senior netters Subhu Purohit and Alex Levine, who placed fifth when they beat Nathan Webster and Robbie Fiocchi of Kennewick, 6-4, 6-4.

The Reporter asked Pearson a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Roger Federer. He seems like a good person from all the stuff he’s done and he’s also really good. I’d try to pick his brain about tennis, but also about life, because he’s been a successful business person along with tennis. He seems just like a genuine dude, too.

What super power would you like to have?

Super speed. I just like going fast, it’s always been something I like.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

“E.T.” I watched it a couple years ago and it really touched me.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?

Santorini’s (Greek Grill). The gyros there, they’re really good. I’ll go there once every couple weeks.

What’s your dream vacation spot?


What’s some advice that your dad has given you, with him being a champ, that has gotten you going?

Respect everyone, but fear no one.