tampabay.com

Saddlebrook again feels pain of losing

By BOB PUTNAM
Published April 29, 2005


Like other times in Saddlebrook's confounding history, it was all there for the taking - the glory, the honor and the hardware.

The Spartans had preservered through bad weather and long, intense matches at the Class A state tournament in Tallahassee.

Now the boys seemed poised to win their first team title since 2002. But they left the Scott Speicher Tennis Center without a trophy in hand.

Saddlebrook finished as the runnerup for the fourth time, scoring 12 points, six behind the American Heritage.

The Spartans knew the outcome could have been different if their No. 3, Jonathon Wong, was available. Wong, who advanced to the finals in singles competition and teamed with Dominic Pagon to reach the final in No. 1 doubles, withdrew Wednesday citing personal reasons.

Pagon was the team's only hope for an individual title after No. 2 Gian Hodgson and No. 4 Christophe Yee lost their semifinal matches in singles and No. 2 doubles Wednesday.

In the No. 1 singles of team competition, Pagon grinded out a 4-6, 7-6, (10-8) victory. Pagon suffered from cramps in the No. 1 overall singles final and lost to area nemesis George Navas of Tampa Prep, 6-2, 6-0.

"(George) was a tougher opponent and Dominic simply ran out of gas," Saddlebrook coach Martin Parkes said. "We had some unfortunate circumstances this week that prevented us from being right there for the title."