Date: August 2, 3, 2008
About: Sayeed Ali & Pi Boulavong - Class of 1997
A Decade Later, QHS Duo Still in Synch
The last time Sayeed Ali and Pi Boulavong played together, they were on the court at the boys tennis state finals.
But that was more than 11 years ago.
"We both stopped playing and then, here just this last year, I played a little bit up in Chicago and (Boulavong's) been playing down here," Ali said. "Then I called (Boulavong) up and we figured let's just try it out."
Saturday, they were back together.
The former Quincy High School teammates were reunited on the same side of the court at the Quincy doubles tennis tournament at Reservoir Park. It didn't take long to return to form as they defeated Karl Duesterhaus and Michael Hagstrom in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-4.
"It was all right," Ali said. "There was a little bit rust there but we had a good time. ... We thought we did well back in the day and we thought we'd get together and see if it was still there."
Ali and Boulavong have their hands full in the semifinals.
They face back-to-back champs and top-seeded Bill LaTour and Todd Willing at 9 a.m. today.
Ali and Boulavong only played doubles during their senior year. Ali made state three times in singles and then joined forces with Boulavong during their senior year.
"We had a great run our senior year in high school and it was a blast," Ali said. "We had so much fun so we're going to try it again today."
Ali also experienced success as a senior at Augustana College.
In 2001, the only year Ali decided to play college tennis, he won the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin No. 1 singles title.
Ali, 29, said he's played doubles with state champions and national players.
"And I think (Boulavong) has probably got some of the best volleys that I've ever seen," Ali said.
"And he still does."
Ali, who lives in Geneva, said he notices that he plays a little smarter than he did in high school.
"In high school, everything I hit was as hard as I could," Ali said. "Now I'm a little more patient. I guess I play a little smarter. But at the same time in high school I was a lot more polished."
Ali and Boulavong's former coach, Mike Terry, was in attendance and watched his former athletes. Terry said it brought back fond memories.
"They were a really special team," Terry said. "To this day, that's the highest finishers I've ever coached. They're always going to be a special team for me."