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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
At Altamonte Springs, after Monday's first round of the boys Class 4A tennis tournament, it appears Wharton is poised to win a team title, albeit with a sprinkle of controversy.
During a third-set tiebreaker of a No. 2 doubles match between West Boca and Wharton, coaches from both schools were called in at the request of the players to call lines, Wharton coach Marcie Scholl said.
With Wharton leading 6-5 in the tiebreaker Scholl called a Wharton serve on the line. West Boca disputed the call and the point was played over. Wharton ended up winning the point and the match, which turned out to be key in the team competition and left West Boca steamed.
Scholl said she was shaken and felt put "in a terrible position, a position I should never have been put it." Scholl said an objective person should have been called in to call lines, not the competing schools' coaches.
Nonetheless, Wharton heads into today's final round in the lead with 10 points, two ahead of Naples Barron Collier and West Boca. Wharton has chances to win eight points today, while Barron Collier has a chance to win seven and West Boca three.
At Altamonte Springs, Chamberlain's hopes of winning a Class 4A state team title pretty much faded Monday afternoon at Sanlando Tennis Complex when it lost four head-to-head matches against its toughest competitor, St. Thomas Aquinas.
The first round ended with St. Thomas at 10 points and Chamberlain with eight.
"We were right in there and we fought hard, but we just couldn't quite get it done," Chamberlain coach Mike Zanatian said. "We're not totally out of it but the odds aren't good (to come back in today's final round of team competition)."
The brightest light on Monday was the Chiefs' No. 1 player, Jamie Mera, who won both her singles matches and will play this morning at 8 for the team No. 1 state title. If Mera wins, she will play Wednesday for the overall state title against the winner of the individual qualifier bracket.
Chamberlain, which tied for second at last year's state tournament, has chances to win points today at three positions (singles and doubles) while Aquinas has chances at five positions.