July 2, 2016

Mostly clear

Boys tennis: Cloverleaf’s Jacob Dunbar ready for last hurrah

Cloverleaf junior Jacob Dunbar has already proven to be one of the best boys tennis players in Medina County history.

With a 61-5 record and two singles appearances at the Division I state tournament, he has accomplished more in his first two prep seasons than any local player ever.

This spring, Dunbar will face additional pressure, as this is his final high school campaign.

Jacob Dunbar

As skilled in the classroom as he is on the court, the two-time Gazette MVP is slated to graduate from Cloverleaf in May — a full year early — and will continue his tennis career at the University of Richmond in the fall.

The only question facing Dunbar in the interim is whether he will join older brother Ethan (a redshirt sophomore with the Spiders) and Medina’s Patrick Thompson as the county’s only three-time state qualifiers.

Dunbar also will attempt to become the first county singles player to advance to the state tournament three years in a row — and continue his family’s SL dynasty by winning its seventh straight first singles crown for the Colts.

Four other members of the 2012 All-Gazette team return, topped by Highland first singles player Steve Smykal. The three-time All-Gazette selection has a 42-31 career record, including an 11-4 mark in intracounty play.

Medina senior Jake Liebler, who led the county with a .700 winning percentage at second singles last year, has earned the lead singles spot for the Bees. He is a three-year letterwinner with a 40-23 career record.

Junior Michael Hutchings and sophomore Joshua Hadler will play second and third singles, respectively, for the Hornets. Hutchings owns a 31-22 career mark, while Hadler went 19-5 as a rookie as Highland claimed the mythical county championship and finished 13-3 overall.

Brunswick junior Ian Kurela and Wadsworth senior Ryan Salem round out the first singles players in the county, which combined to win 52 of 90 matches in 2012 — with all five teams finishing .500 or better.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.