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Several Wharton boys take home hardware in the individual tournament.
By DAVID MURPHY
Published April 28, 2006
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS - After two days of singles and doubles action that saw them win 10 total matches, the Chamberlain girls stopped playing and started waiting, watching and cheering.
A win over Baron Collier in the second doubles championship had put the Chiefs in a tie for second place, and in the Class 3A team tournament's final match, they needed Gainesville to top Baron Collier at No. 1 doubles in order to maintain their status as runner-up.
It took three sets - and plenty of encouragement from the Chamberlain contingent in the metal bleachers at Sanlando Park - but Gainesville eventually came through and the Chiefs were able to take home a second-place trophy for a showing that regardless would have been impressive.
"We knew we could do it," said freshman Jennifer Miller, who teamed with Chelsea Townes for the pivotal win at No. 2 doubles. "We knew we had a good team."
Townes and Miller weren't the only Tampa athletes to win medals.
The Wharton boys' No. 2 doubles team of Alex Bartholomew and Mitch Wong won the No. 2 doubles title, while Chamberlain sophomore Jamie Mera advanced to the No. 1 singles championship before losing to Celebration's Julia Huschke 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).
The victory was particularly sweet for Bartholomew and Wong. Last year as freshmen, they lost to a team from Gainesville in the semifinals. This year, they beat a team from Gainesville in the semis en route to the championship.
"It's what we've been working for," Bartholomew said. "We should have had it last year."
Bartholomew also took home a title at No. 3 singles, although it came because of a controversial ruling that saw Baron Collier No. 3 David Irvin disqualified for swearing on the court. Irvin was leading Bartholomew 5-1 in the first set when it was halted.
The situation arose when Wharton coach Marcie Scholl approached the scorer's table at the center of Sanlando Park complaining that Irvin had yelled at her, using an obscenity. Scholl declined to comment on the situation at the end of the day, saying only that the Florida High School Athletic Association "handled it."
Gary Piggott, the FHSAA representative on site, said the head USTA official in charge of the event had decided to disqualify Irvin, which led to Bartholomew winning by default.
Wharton finished tied for third in the team standings with eight points, eight behind champion Baron Collier.
Gainesville finished as girls champion with 12 points.