By RODNEY PAGE, CAREY FREEMAN, WAYNE GRUMET, JOHN SCHWARB, BOB PUTNAM, STEVE LEE, FRANK PASTOR, PETE YOUNG, Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 18, 2001
Dundedin earns its first district championship
ST. PETERSBURG -- Dunedin's trophy case is full of accomplishments from other sports, but the tennis team hadn't put anything in the case. Until now.
Dunedin placed four players in the singles finals and two others in the doubles finals and eased to the Class 2A, District 10 title with 15 points, seven better than Gibbs. "What's great about this is we don't have the club players," fifth-year Dunedin coach Bill Perry said. "We don't have the superstar. We've got a bunch of kids who were committed from the beginning and who play hard."
Depth was the key. Jade Mims was second in No. 2 singles, Scott Sorset was second in No. 3 singles, A.J. Hammond was the champion at No. 4 singles and Seth Fischer was the No. 5 singles champion.
Tarpon Springs' Ben Kronk won the No. 1 singles title 6-2, 6-2 win over Clearwater Central Catholic's Haley Dodson. CCC's Jimmy McFarland and Dodson won the No. 1 doubles title. Dunedin faces Jesuit Friday. -- RODNEY PAGE
LECANTO -- Regular-season success is great for the ego, but as previously unbeaten Lecanto found out the hard way Tuesday, it means nothing once the post-season starts.
Despite losing both of its dual matches with Lecanto this season, Citrus repeated as Class 2A, District 5 champion by one point over the Panthers.
Brett Feldman and Tim Peleshok carried the day for Citrus. Feldman beat Lecanto's Avash Rao 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, for the No. 3 singles title and Peleshok beat Crystal River's Chris Grillo 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5.
Peleshok and Feldman then won 7-5, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles to clinch the title.
"It all depended on (Tim) in singles and me in singles," Feldman said. "If we hadn't won there, it wouldn't have come to the doubles. But it was fitting that it would all come down to us in doubles, too."
Citrus will host Hudson on Friday. -- CAREY FREEMAN
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Gaither's Chris Huffer, Dylan Marks, Adam Bilzerian and Nathan Perez advanced to the finals. Only Perez won at No. 4 singles, but all four also advanced to the two doubles finals, which was enough for Gaither to win its first title 13-12 over Hillsborough.
Palm Harbor U. finished fourth thanks to Frank Boutsis' win at No. 3 singles.- WAYNE GRUMET
CLEARWATER -- Fred Johnson had a suspenseful day, but the same could not be said for his Seminole teammates.
The Warhawks made easy work of the field, winning six of seven finals at McMullen Tennis Center for a second consecutive district title. Their 20 points easily outpaced Boca Ciega (8 points). "I didn't tell the guys this, but I felt if we didn't win the district, it would be a disappointment," Seminole coach Rich Lally said.
Seminole advances to play at East Lake on Friday. Johnson, Seminole's top player, endured two three-set thrillers. In No. 1 singles, he rallied to beat Boca Ciega's Chris Yarn 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
In the No. 1 doubles match, he and partner Scott Forsman defeated Yarn and Kevin Tucker 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. -- JOHN SCHWARB
EAST LAKE -- The last time East Lake faced Countryside, the Eagles squeaked by 4-3 in the regular season. So it was only natural that East Lake coach Bill Gunther said he expected another close one. It did not happen. For the the Eagles, the results were better. Facing the Cougars in four singles and both doubles matches, East Lake won five of them, enough to win 20-13 over Countryside.
"A lot of the matches were real, real tight," Gunther said. "But we came out on top with most of them. I was surprised. We did better than I thought we would."
Ryan Buchanan (No. 1 singles), Adel Naser (No. 2), Ezra Goldman (No. 4) and Daniel Brandies (No. 5) won for East Lake. The only loss was Dmitri Bubis, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 to John Kenny of Countryside.
In the doubles matches, Buchanan and Naser won at No. 1 and Goldman and Bubis won at No. 2.
The Eagles host Seminole on Friday. -- BOB PUTNAM
ZEPHYRHILLS -- Hudson has a stranglehold on the district crown.
"It's Hudson vs. the world. That's domination," Zephyrhills coach Gary Davis said after Hudson won the title for the second consecutive season.
The Cobras had players in every final except No. 1 singles, which Zephyrhills' Chris Black won (defeating Springstead's Andrew Sufficool 6-1, 4-6, 6-1).
Black and No. 2 singles champion Chris Hinkle teamed up to win in No. 1 doubles (beating Hudson's Marcus Ressler and Juan Casteneda 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4).
Hudson's Billy Boyko, Robert Pollock and Casteneda won singles titles. Boyko and Mark Hofmeyer won in No. 2 doubles. -- STEVE LEE
TAMPA -- Clarence Boyd came from behind to defeat defending district champ Andy McIlvaine at No. 3 singles, highlighting Saddlebrook's win at Berkeley Prep's E.C. Smith Tennis Complex.
Boyd trailed 5-2 in the first set before rallying to win the next five games on his way to a 7-6 (7-0), 6-2 victory over McIlvaine, the No. 5 singles champ last season.
Saddlebrook's Ben Ureta also toppled a district champ, defeating Berkeley Prep's Carl Fenzl 6-3, 7-5 at No. 1.
Saddlebrook won all five singles and both doubles finals to finish with 14 points. Runner-up Berkeley Prep had 7 points. Jeff Guerry (No. 2), Sam Sutherland (No. 4) and Leonard Gullan (No. 5) also won singles titles for Saddlebrook. The teams of Ureta and Sutherland (No. 1) and Guerry and Boyd (No. 2) claimed doubles titles.
Saddlebrook hosts Canterbury in a regional match Friday. -- FRANK PASTOR
TAMPA -- Plant pulled off a surprise by capturing the Class 3A, District 11 title 16-15 over Wharton, a team the Panthers lost to 7-0 earlier in the season.
"We knew it was going to be tough to win this, but we also knew we had a chance on this surface (hard courts at Hillsborough Community College)," Plant coach Matt Pfeiffer said. "When we lost to (Wharton) earlier this season, we played them on their home clay courts. Softer courts just aren't our surface."
Plant clinched the victory when its No. 2 doubles team of Eli Samaha and John Day won its final match 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 over Wharton.
"We felt a little pressure, but we thought we could get the victory," Samaha said. "Our rhythm kind of went away in that second set (of the doubles final). But we came back in the the third set and got the job done."
Plant will host Plant City in Friday's regional match at Grady Courts. Wharton's Konstantin Lazarov earned a trip to the state tournament by winning the No. 1 singles title, defeating Chamberlain's Carl Fisher 6-2, 6-2 in the final. -- SCOTT PURKS
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Gaither didn't look like a champion, winning only one of its six finals matches at River Ridge.
But the Cowboys scored enough points to edge Hillsborough 13-12. Gaither's Chris Huffer, Dylan Marks, Adam Bilzerian and Nathan Perez advanced to the finals. Only Perez won at No. 4 singles, but all four also advanced to the doubles finals.
"They played the best they have all season," Gaither coach Will Brimm said. "It was a total team effort."
Dusty Dixon of third-place Sickles defeated Huffer 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 to win the No. 1 singles title. Hillsborough's Ross Van Boven and Argun Parasher won the No. 1 doubles title by beating Huffer and Bilzerian 6-1, 6-0.
Van Boven also won No. 2 singles, and Amar Raval won No. 5 singles.
Sickles' Eddie Zaragoza and Justin Yiznitsky won No. 2 doubles.- WAYNE GRUMET
TAMPA -- Plant City earned another couple days of practice, but don't look for it to complain. The Raiders won the district title at the University of South Florida, taking home their third title in four years. Plant City, buoyed by a strong first day, won at No. 4 singles to finish with 14 points, enough to outdistance Armwood and Riverview, which tied with eight.
Now comes the tough part. The Raiders must play Plant at the Grady Courts in Friday's regional. "I'm not walking around with blinders on here," Plant City coach Dale Rice said. "I know we were blessed with a district that isn't as strong as some of the others around here. But we worked hard this season, and it all paid off today."
Brandon's Robbie Wald won 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 over Plant City's Scott Eason at No. 1 singles. Plant City's Johnny Dicks and Scott Eason beat Riverview's Jorge Angel and Ben Bandy 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 for the No. 1 doubles title. -- MIKE READLING
ST. PETERSBURG -- Canterbury won the boys and girls titles, but it was a little bit closer for the boys, who held off Shorecrest 17-15 to secure a rematch against Saddlebrook.
The private school powerhouses will meet Friday at Saddlebrook. Saddlebrook prevailed last year 4-3 in both matches. Four Crusaders reached the finals, and two beat Shorecrest players. At No. 2 singles, Marc Sawyer defeated Ben Olsen 6-1, 6-0, and at No. 3, Marcus Carlson hammered Jon Bonner 6-0, 6-0. At No. 4, Shorecrest's Jared Abelman beat Canterbury's Greg Bulleit, 6-1, 6-2.
At No. 1 singles, Canterbury's Jon Brett defeated Admiral Farragut's Kevin Zimmerman 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, and Brett and Sawyer won No. 1 doubles. -- PETE YOUNG
At Greenleaf Resort in Haines City, Jesuit swept the tournament. The Tigers finished with the maximum 21 points, giving them nine consecutive district titles.
Jesuit will host Dunedin in a regional match Friday at Hillsborough Community College. Jesuit has finished as the Class 2A state runner-up the past five years.
Tiger junior Ryler DeHeart, the defending state champion, earned a return trip to the state tournament by winning the No. 1 district singles title 6-0, 6-0. -- TIMES STAFF