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Preps

Seminole's top four in finals

By LAURA LEE
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 23, 2003

SEMINOLE -- Kelly DeWitt won't complain about how hard it was to do nothing for 71/2 hours before he finally took the court. Nor will he whine about it lasting barely 40 minutes. Today he'll likely play three matches each in that amount of time.

DeWitt is one of the Vikings trying to stop heavily favored Seminole in today's Class 3A, District 10 tournament.

Seminole's four top-seeded singles players will be challenged by the best Northeast has to offer. Seminole leads the tournament with 10 points, and Northeast is in second with eight.

"We're hoping to upset Seminole in the finals as well as go somewhere," said DeWitt, who plays Seminole senior Chris Bulone in the No. 1 singles final.

DeWitt also has a chance to advance in doubles with senior Brian Templien. The pair is seeded No. 2 in the tournament behind Seminole's Bulone and Scott Forsman.

Though the Vikings appear to be in striking distance, Seminole coach Rich Lally is confident about the Warhawks' ability. After all, the Warhawks don't have to win every match to win the tournament.

"I hope they come to play," Lally said about Northeast. "That's what makes it fun."

Three-way tussle in Class 4A-5

TAMPA -- It's anybody's guess as to who could win today's 4A-5 team title: Hillsborough, Wharton or St. Petersburg.

The three come in tied with nine points and equal opportunities for points today. Wharton and St. Petersburg each have three singles players and two doubles teams alive. Hillsborough has four singles players and a doubles team remaining.

"It should be very, very interesting to say the least," St. Petersburg coach Alan Turnquist said. "I feel confident in all our remaining players, but there is strong competition out there as well."

The favored player at No. 1 singles is nationally-ranked St. Petersburg senior Alamgir Wali, who will face Wharton's Konstantin Lazarov in the final. Lazarov, however, doesn't intend to lie down.

"(Wali) is a great player," Lazarov said. "But I am looking forward to playing him. I am playing pretty well and feel like I have a chance."

Wharton, which finished third in the state in 2002, easily took the district title last year, and Wali advanced to the state tournament by beating Lazarov in No. 1 singles.

Palm Harbor University, with five points after Monday's action, along with Gaither and Chamberlain, have shots at spoiler roles in today's doubles quarterfinals.

-- SCOTT PURKS

Eagles dominant in 3A-9 tourney

It was business as usual for East Lake in Class 3A, District 9. The Eagles moved to the finals in all five singles brackets and await semifinal matchups today in both doubles groupings. Eagle No. 1 Adel Naser advanced without swinging a racket and will play William Staggs of Tarpon Springs today at McMullen Booth Tennis Complex.

Naser's doubles partner, Ryan Buchanan, faces Andrew Eville from host Clearwater. The Tornadoes had nine points in the team competition, one behind the Eagles. East Lake lost just three games in their five matches. The Nos. 3-5 brackets are all Clearwater versus East Lake, and both schools reached the doubles semifinals with byes. Dunedin (one point), Largo (five), Tarpon Springs (six), and Countryside (three) are out of contention.

"It's certainly going to be interesting," Clearwater coach Dave Scott said. East Lake beat Clearwater 4-3 this season.

-- ERIC MUSKATEVC

Shorecrest contends with IRC and CCC

ST. PETERSBURG -- Shorecrest finished the first day of Class A, District 9 competition at the St. Pete Racquet Club with 11 points, but Indian Rocks Christian was breathing down their neck with eight points. Clearwater Central Catholic was third with seven points.

In the No. 1 matches, Christian Yepes of Shorecrest could not avenge a regular-season loss to Indian Rocks Christian's Philip Barlow, who won in the semifinals 6-2, 6-4.

Barlow plays for the championship against Haley Dodson of Clearwater Central Catholic. Dodson defeated Anthony Ladd of Admiral Farragut 6-2. 6-3.

Despite Dodson's performance, coach Doug Rose of Indian Rocks Christian likes Barlow's chances.

"It should be a great match," Rose said. "Haley is a great player, but Philip can beat anybody on any given day,"

In the No. 2 boys singles, Nick Berning of CCC meets Jared Abelman of Shorecrest. Berning, a freshman, defeated Gregory Lecompte of Admiral Farragut 6-0, 6-0. Abelman defeated Matthew Buckles of Indian Rocks Christian 6-1, 6-3.

The finals kick off at 9 a.m. today.

-- CARMINO IMONDI

Jesuit goes 7-0 in Class 2A-11

LARGO -- Tampa Jesuit began its march to another state tennis tournament by winning all seven of its matches in Monday's Class 2A, District 11 tournament at Bardmoor Tennis Club.

Coach Joe Curtis' Tigers, a state qualifier each of his nine years, can secure a place in the regionals with another strong performances Monday.

Brian Walsh, Eddy Shahanaserian, Connor Blouin, Matt Jordan and Drew Jennewion each won in singles to advance. "We did what we had to do today to put us in a position to win the tournament," Curtis said. "Now we have to go out and finish the job."

Jesuit lead Robinson 14-12. Bradenton Southeast was close behind with 11 points.

-- JIM REESE

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