• ‘Canes, Wave Tennis in the Mix at State


    By Cliff Olsen
    Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.

    Gainesville High School boys tennis coach Paul Spradling said he was excited to see how his team would perform at the FHSAA Class 3A state tournament at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

    After Wednesday’s opening-day action, the veteran coach is pleased as the Hurricanes, in their second straight trip to state, have six points and are tied with Bradenton Lakewood Ranch and Stuart Martin County.

    Naples Barron Collier, the two-time defending state champions, lead after day one with 11 points.

    “The kids played their hearts out today, and I’m glad to be tied for second with a shot to still win the whole thing,” said Spradling, who guided the Hurricanes to the Class 5A state title in 1996 and to a share of the championship 1998. “Zach (Goldberg) and Pete (Slaton) came up big for us.”

    Goldberg, The Sun’s 2011 player of the year, breezed through his quarterfinal and semifinal matches at No. 2 singles, dropping just one game in his pair of straight-set wins. Goldberg will be playing for a state title today as will No. 3 singles player Peter Slaton, who got through the quarterfinals and semifinals matches.

    Both of the Hurricanes doubles teams, No. 1 Cole Fiegel and Goldberg and No. 2 Slaton and Justin Zambelli, posted quarterfinal victories and will be in semifinal action today.

    On the individual girls side of the Class 3A state tournament, Columbia’s Chrissie Reichert lost her opening-round match in straight sets.

    The P.K. Yonge girls team also had a good day at the Class 1A state tournament at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry. The Blue Wave are in third place with five points, behind Boca Raton St. Andrew’s (11) and Miami Ransom Everglades (10).

    “I was impressed with our composure that we were able to hang with a lot of the stronger opponents,” P.K. Yonge coach Robert Taylor said. “We’re doing good.”

    Jazz Whittaker, The Sun’s 2011 player of the year, rolled to a pair of straight-set wins and will be playing for a state title today at No. 1 singles. The Blue Wave’s No. 2 doubles team of Kiah Turner and Marcela Ifju reached today’s semifinal round after a straight-set quarterfinals win on Monday.

    In the Class 1A individual tournament, Oak Hall’s Harrison Thibault fell in straight sets.

    Thibault and Apurv Suman defaulted in their quarterfinals doubles match. Suman, who recently was accepted to Yale, was at pre-orientation and was not able to get back in time, according to Eagles co-coach Tom Simpson.

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