MEDINA — Five Medina County boys tennis players remain in the championship hunt after the opening day of action at the Medina Division I Sectional.
Cloverleaf junior and two-time Gazette MVP Jacob Dunbar advanced to the singles quarterfinals without losing a game Tuesday, putting him one victory away from a third straight trip to the Oberlin College District.
Two local doubles teams also reached the round of eight in Highland senior Steve Smykal and junior Michael Hutchings and Wadsworth junior Owen McDevitt and senior Asa Berlin. If they win their quarterfinal matches Friday at 3 p.m., both squads would make their initial trips to districts.
Dunbar earned the lone bye in the first round before firing double-bagels at Brunswick senior Nathan Canterbury and Walsh Jesuit freshman Ben Smith.
In his district qualification match, the University of Richmond recruit will face Tallmadge senior Derik Sibit, who eliminated Medina sophomore Connor Varney 6-1, 7-6 (3) to reach the quarters.
In the doubles draw, McDevitt and Berlin won a pair of three-setters to set up a quarterfinal showdown with No. 1 seeds Andrew Ong and Jarad Pennington of Copley.
The Grizzlies’ second doubles duo beat Twinsburg’s Saeed Khoncarly and Steve Whitney 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, then won by default over Wooster before topping Brecksville’s Navbir Randhawa and Alex Belovich 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 in the round of 16.
Smykal and Hutchings — Highland’s top singles players the last two regular seasons — will take on No. 4 seeds Grant Ring and Gavin Cona of Walsh Jesuit in the quarters.
The Highland standouts beat Aurora’s Spencer Wilson and Sid Mandava 6-1, 7-6 (5), then blasted Cuyahoga Falls’ Tyler Green and Simon Moskowitz 6-1, 6-3.
Only four county doubles teams won a match on the comfortable, spring day at Medina High, where each seeded squad moved on.
Joining the aforementioned Hornets and Grizzlies in the second round were Medina juniors Jerek Pazgan-Lorenzo and Brad King and Wadsworth seniors Ben Hanna and David Fergusson.
In the star-studded singles draw, all four seeds also are alive in No. 1 Dunbar, No. 2 Aaron Sandberg of Walsh Jesuit, No. 3 Steven Boslet of Hudson and No. 4 Matt Miles of the Warriors.
Varney and Dunbar were the two county singles players to win multiple sectional matches.
Wadsworth sophomore Cameron Croghan, Medina senior Jake Liebler, Brunswick sophomore Roger Boyer, Cloverleaf senior Chris Lindemeyer, Highland sophomore Joshua Hadler, Medina senior Noah Yoder and Canterbury won their openers before falling in the second round.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.