THIS IS... NEWPORT COAST'S RYAN HONARYJUNIOR TENNIS | USTA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
FEBRUARY 17, 2023
THIS IS... NEWPORT COAST'S RYAN HONARYUSTA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
FEBRUARY 17, 2023
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It is hard enough to maintain a pristine academic record as a student today, and just as impressive to be a promising junior tennis player. To do both at a very high level is more than doubly impressive, and Newport Coast’s Ryan Honary is a prime example of this. Ryan is a gifted scientist who has been working on a potentially life-saving technology to combat a problem that is all too familiar in Southern California. Alongside his burgeoning career as a scientist, the 14-year-old also exercises his mind and body on the tennis court and is a rising junior player with big plans in the worlds of science and tennis.
Like many junior players, Ryan wants to play Division 1 tennis at a top school like Stanford or Harvard and hopes to use tennis as a pathway to higher education. However, one look at Ryan’s resume makes it clear that even without tennis, Ryan may be a shoe-in for a top academic institution. Ryan has been developing an artificial intelligence-driven wireless mesh sensor network for early detection and growth prediction of environmental hazards. This is a potentially life-saving technology that is designed to detect wildfires and predict how they will develop. Ryan and his company, SensoRy AI, have won numerous awards and prizes in the STEM field, highlighting his prowess both on the court and in the classroom.
In 2018, when he was in the fifth grade, Ryan was inspired to do something about the wildfire threats that constantly plague California. Ryan began work on his network of solar-powered sensors that are informed by artificial intelligence. The sensors can connect to an app designed by Ryan and detect the growth or movement of wildfires before they become dangerous, potentially saving many lives and limiting the damage of wildfires. SensoRy AI has received multiple rounds of funding to develop Ryan’s idea, and his work may be the catalyst to one day eliminate the threat of dangerous wildfires in California.
The 14-year-old is scientific about his approach to tennis as well, being quick to dissect his own game, and is currently focusing on improving his serve. “I want to make my serve better,” said Ryan. “Right now, I rely more on my second serve. So, I’m trying to get my first serve more high percentage, but still effective at the same time.” Ryan is also always looking for ways to stay all-rounded and help his tennis game, having taken up wakeboarding as a hobby and seeing the crossover to the court. “It does help a little with perseverance,” laughed Ryan. “On a bad day, the waves might suck. So, you have to keep trying to catch a wave. You can’t give up!”
“I wanted to play all the sports,” recalled Ryan. “I just liked sports as a whole. But tennis I wanted to play the most because it was the most fun for me!” Ryan remembers that as he was trying out a lot of different sports, something about tennis stood out to him and made him want to focus on it, putting more of his time into tennis lessons as opposed to other sports such as soccer. Unsurprisingly, what Ryan finds most fun about tennis is the mental side of the game, and he relishes the challenge of having all eyes on him. “When you’re down five-one, there’s still a chance to come back,” smiled Ryan. “But the only way to come back is to have a positive mindset and persevere.”
Ryan explained that while people may expect tennis to be less tiring due to the smaller court compared to sports like basketball or soccer, the compact intensity of the tennis court is what excites him. “When you start having those 20 to 30 rally points, and you’re running side to side, dripping in sweat in 102 degrees… Then you realize it’s actually really hard.” Excitement washed over Ryan as he spoke about why the tougher aspects of the sport motivate him to play tennis.
Aside from the competitive aspect of the sport, Ryan’s time in tennis has also given him other opportunities, including the opportunity to play at tournaments around the country. Ryan recalled his experience playing at a ‘Little Mo’ tournament in Newport, saying, “It was just really fun, because I got to play with kids from all around the world. I was just exposed to a lot of different cultures and different styles of play.” Ryan has also had the chance to play in New York on grass, which he rates as one of his best experiences.
Ryan’s demeanor and well-rounded approach to the sport give him the air of someone who could do whatever he wants, whether in tennis or otherwise. While he does still have time before getting to college, it is anyone’s guess as to whether he will be better known as a world-renowned scientist or tennis player. His achievements in both fields have put him in prime position to succeed as a tennis player as well as a student who is making an impact on his community.