The magical run for Seth Fuqua began three years ago, when the freshman at The Vanguard School backstopped his soccer team to a 12-4 record, highlighted by his eighth shutout to secure the program’s first and only 3A state tournament victory.
His sophomore year ended in jubilation, somewhere in the dogpile after the Coursers avenged a state-title-game loss to Faith Christian the season before to give Vanguard its first boys’ volleyball club title.
And last spring, Fuqua poured in the points playing his signature sport, basketball, as Vanguard ran the table for its first Tri-Peaks League title in school history while posting a program-best 21-3 record.
So now that the 5-foot-11 athlete is finally a senior, there’s no letting off the gas pedal. There are still huge voids in his unprecedented list of accomplishments before he walks across the stage next spring.
“I took up tennis last year, but I didn’t get to state,” Fuqua said. “That was disappointing. This year, I’m honestly trying to get to state. That’s the main goal. No one has done that from my school before.”
Wait, tennis, too?
Fuqua, whose mother, Dina, is a former Division I tennis player at East Tennessee State who started the boys’ and girls’ programs at Vanguard more than two decades ago, encouraged her son to pick up his racquet and play competitively at about this time last year.
His goal was modest: just break even.
Instead, he shocked even his own mother by sporting a 13-4 record in the premier No. 1 singles spot.
“I told him a .500 record was a good goal, because you’re not a tennis player,” said Dina Fuqua, who coaches both boys’ and girls’ programs at Vanguard after previously serving as the school’s athletic director for 11 years. “And so he went 13-4 and finished third in the region. Wow, that’s insane.”
And without a separate 3A tennis class that exists in the girls’ division, the boys must go through the likes of Cheyenne Mountain, Air Academy and other long-established 4A programs just to get a sniff at the state tournament. Only each position’s winner and runner-up earn state berths.
That doesn’t intimidate Fuqua one bit.
“I like playing those big schools,” Seth said. “We’ll see where it goes.”
Once tennis ends, it’s on to basketball and volleyball, where, of course, Fuqua has big things in mind.
Then, as an encore, it’s off to the track for yet more unchartered territory to continue his massive list of first-time accomplishments as a prep student-athlete.
“I did track my freshman year, made state in the triple and finished 11th,” Seth said. “That’s something I want to do again, to get back into track. This time, I want to break the school record in the triple jump, maybe the long jump, too.”
As for finding a balance between the tough academic rigors at Vanguard with four sports over the school year, Seth credited his parents – he learned his hoops skills at an extremely young age from his dad, Brent, while he was working for the basketball ministry he founded.
“There’s not a lot of free time, and all the different sports have provided different opportunities and experiences,” Seth said. “It’s been so much fun to learn all different kinds of sports and have success in all of them. It’s something I love. And my parents were good at teaching me about work ethic and time management.”
Dina, for the first time, will get to see his son’s pursuit of school tennis history firsthand as his coach.
She can’t wait.
“He’s a competitor,” Dina said. “From everything that he’s done, it translates well, from the hand-eye coordination and great footwork. You have to have great footwork in tennis, and he’s left-handed. Players hate playing against left-handed kids because they almost never play them, so that’s a huge advantage for Seth. He’s just fun to watch.”