July 23, 2016

Mostly sunny

Cloverleaf’s Hanna hopes to extend singles streak at SL


Brian Dulik

The Gazette

The Cloverleaf boys tennis team has claimed the last seven Suburban League first singles titles.

Freshman Austin Hanna will attempt to extend that streak today when the SL Tournament takes place at Medina High.

Hanna has only lost one match this season, but it occurred April 23 against No. 1 seed Andrew Ong of Copley via 6-2, 6-3 scores.

“We would love to keep our streak alive, but Austin will face some tough competition from Andrew,” Colts coach Mike McGee said. “Andrew is a great, seasoned player who really wants the title after being taken down by Jacob Dunbar the past three seasons.”

Reigning Division I state champion Jacob Dunbar won the 2011-13 SL first singles crowns, while older brother Ethan captured the 2007-10 titles for Cloverleaf. Both Dunbars earned All-Atlantic 10 honors this spring at Richmond.

McGee said his other singles players “could surprise if they play like I know they can.” J.J. Martin and Joseph Winnicki have played every match at the second and third spots, respectively, as part of the Colts’ rock-steady lineup.

“We’ve had a lot of close matches that haven’t gone our way, so we know we can improve our seeding,” said McGee, whose squad went 2-5 in SL dual matches. “You never know what’s going to happen in a one-day tournament.”

Highland went 5-2 in league play and has put together an outstanding 11-3 regular season, but coach Lisa Reynolds is taking a philosophical approach entering the event.

“Tournaments can bring out the best and the worst in players,” she said. “I have seen players finish way above and below the seed they enter the tournament. But we have been playing fairly consistently, so I have confidence that we will do well.”

The Hornets should finish in the upper half of the field in all five brackets, with second singles player Joshua Hadler and third singles player Isaac Hadler having legitimate shots at winning.

Highland’s doubles teams of Vince Luth and Ben Kelly (first), and Blake Sours and Woody Funk (second) also figure to finish very high, while top singles player Michael Hutchings will be in the mix for third place.

“We’ll have good seeds for all of our courts, so I would like to finish in the top three as a team,” Reynolds said.

Wadsworth went 3-4 in SL duals, including a 4-1 victory over the Colts. Second singles player Zachary Porter and third singlist Luke Lambright could make lengthy runs, while the first doubles duo of Owen McDevitt and Nathan Lockwood is capable of beating anyone in the eight-school field.

“We’re hoping to finish in the top half as a team,” Grizzlies coach Christa Halicki said. “That will require our players to beat a few opponents they lost to in the regular season, but I think the boys have the experience and confidence to do so.”

In particular, Halicki believes lead singles player Cameron Croghan could make a statement with an upset or two.

“Cameron has put up some tough performances, and he’s looking forward to playing a few rematches (today),” she said.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.