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Mitchell wins first title

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 17, 2002

NEW PORT RICHEY -- Just how great did second-year Mitchell's first district championship feel?

"It's like Christmas, New Year's and the Super Bowl all rolled up into one," coach Jim Smith said.

In lieu of Santa, the Mustangs had the doubles team of Gregg Strange and Richard Grimberg.

They delivered the district title in the last match Tuesday at River Ridge, a 6-3, 7-6 marathon victory over the previously undefeated and top-seeded Land O'Lakes tandem of Mike Seidl and Vu-Anh Thai.

Strange also earned Mitchell's other district crown, winning the No. 1 singles title 6-2, 6-1 over Land O'Lakes' Seidl.

The Mustangs will travel to Lakeland Jenkins on Friday to take on the 3A-8 champion.

Strange and Grimberg earned a trip to state with their district doubles championship, and Strange will also play for the state singles title.

Mitchell scored 12 points, edging surprising Ridgewood by a point.

The Rams won three singles finals. Matt Bolyard beat Lester Nicols of Springstead 6-1, 6-2 in No. 2 singles, Joseph Matera defeated Nick Brown of River Ridge 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in No. 3 and Matthew Bennett won 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 over William Daily of Mitchell in No. 4.

-- JAMAL THALJI

Leopards lose just one

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Hernando won its first district title since 1999 by taking six of seven matches.

Hudson's Mike Abrahams prevented a Hernando sweep by defeating the Leopards' Daniel Crespo 7-5, 6-4 in No. 3 singles.

Hudson, coming off two consecutive district championships, totaled 11 points as the runner-up to Hernando's 20.

Sufficool improved to 20-2 with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Hudson's Juan Castaneda.

Sufficool then teamed with Eric Frechette to defeat Gulf's Adam Stosur and Carlos Sosa 6-1, 6-1 in No. 1 doubles.

Frechette and Hudson's Robert Pollock played close in No. 2 singles with Frechette winning 7-5, 6-3.

Brent Lowman and Drew Taylor, Hernando's only unbeaten player at 19-0, won in No. 4 and No. 5 singles, respectively.

Lowman bested Hudson's Davis Hanley 6-0, 6-3 and Taylor defeated Zephyrhills' Conley Nash 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.

Pasco's No. 2 doubles team of Bryan Holmes and Justin Sharpe reached the final, but lost 6-1, 7-5 to Hernando's Lowman and Mike Ehlenbeck.

-- STEVE LEE

Pirates pull off surprise

LECANTO -- Citrus was the defending champion and Lecanto was the favorite, but Crystal River walked away with the title.

The Pirates had the championship clinched with 16 points, four more than Lecanto and eight more than Citrus, when play was suspended by rain with one doubles match in progress. Crystal River advanced all five singles players and both doubles teams to the finals.

"We worked hard every single day," Pirates coach Vicki Browning said. "This is so sweet."

Crystal River, which won all of its Monday matches, went a combined 0-4 against Citrus and Lecanto during the regular season. In one match against Lecanto, the Pirates lost 6-1.

No. 1 Chris Lavoie, a freshman, was Crystal River's only singles champion, but No. 2 Brian Wilkerson, No. 3 Chad Demontfort, No. 4 Chris Grillo and No. 5 Tyler Cummings also reached the finals. The Pirates' edge over Lecanto came in doubles, where the Panthers had no finalists.

Citrus had won three consecutive district titles, but No. 2 Bret Feldman was the Hurricanes' only singles champion. The sophomore finished 16-0.

Lecanto, 16-2 during the regular season, got singles titles from No. 3 Cyprian Rodriguez, No. 4 Ravi Parikh and No. 5 Louis Ottino. Rodriguez capped an unbeaten season.

-- KEITH NIEBUHR

Spartans sweep finals

TAMPA -- Going into the finals, it looked like Berkeley Prep was set to give Saddlebrook a challenge for its long-running district crown.

The Bucs trailed the Spartans by one point and were faced with the prospect of needing four wins in the finals to tie Saddlebrook and set up a head-to-head showdown for the title.

Then the matches actually started.

Saddlebrook's Yogi Masouka won at No. 3 singles, Clarence Boyd at No. 4, Aly Mandour at No. 2 and Leonard Gullan at No. 5 to eliminate Berkeley Prep from contention and begin the Spartans' streak. Saddlebrook didn't stop until it won all seven finals matches.

The biggest test any of the Saddlebrook players faced was Jose Muguruza, who beat Carl Fenzl 6-1, 6-4 to take home the No. 1 singles title.

-- MIKE READLING

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