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Title no sweat for DeHeart

By EMILY NIPPS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 26, 2002

TAMPA -- For the second time in four years, Jesuit No. 1 player Ryler DeHeart won an overall Class 2A singles championship Thursday.

DeHeart defeated Plantation American Heritage junior Milan Dimitrov, an exchange student from Bulgaria, in a quick 6-1, 6-2 match.

DeHeart frustrated Dimitrov with nine aces and several winners while committing few unforced errors.

"I just tried to stay focused," DeHeart said. "I had only seen him play once, so I wasn't really sure (what to expect). He looked kind of emotional during the match."

DeHeart, a senior, said he was calm and relaxed entering the match, despite it being his last. He also won the overall title in 2000.

Jesuit finished fifth in the team bracket Wednesday, collecting three points from DeHeart's tournament wins. Dimitrov was the individual singles bracket winner.

4A BOYS: Wharton played about as well as it could in Thursday's final round of the Class 4A team competition, but fell just a point short of second place at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

Miami Sunset won with 17 points, followed by Lake Brantley with nine and Wharton at eight.

Wildcat Evan DuFaux won the No. 2 singles title in the team competition, taking the final 6-1, 6-4. Wharton's No. 3, Frankie Castillo, lost in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-3 to Miami Sunset.

DuFaux returned to the court in No. 1 doubles with Wharton's No. 1 player, Konstantin Lazarov, and the duo finished runner-up to Miami Sunset, 6-4, 5-7 (6-8), 6-2.

"Overall we're very happy with how we played," Wharton coach Marcie Scholl said. "Some of the boys are disappointed, but when you look at how they competed there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of."

Wharton, in its fifth year of existence, was making its first appearance at the state tournament. The Wildcats will return their top three players next season.

4A GIRLS: Brianna Williams, Hillsborough County's lone female survivor to Thursday's quarterfinals, didn't last too long in her morning match.

Williams lost 6-2, 6-0 to North Palm Beach's Audrey Banada, but the Gaither sophomore wasn't too down on herself afterward.

"I tried my hardest, but (Banada) just had too many shots and was very consistent," Williams said. "It was a great experience to play someone that good, and I learned a lot."

Williams, who went undefeated in the county the past two years, finished as an overall state runnerup in doubles last year.

-- Times staff writer Scott Purks contributed to this report.

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