• GHS boys, Columbia Girls Capture District Crowns

    By Cliff Olsen


    Published April 7th, 2011

    The Gainesville boys tennis team took home its first district title since 2007 on Thursday, while the Columbia girls tennis team claimed its second straight district District 4-3A crown.

    The Eastside boys squad and the GHS girls club each finished as district runners-up at the two-day event held on the clay courts of the Jonesville Tennis Center.

    The Hurricanes, which held a slight two-point lead heading into the doubles final, clinched the team-title as Zach Goldberg and Cole Fiegel knocked off Eastside’s Frazier Springfield and John Yoo, 6-1, 6-4 at No. 1 doubles. GHS, which won the first three singles positions and both doubles positions, edged Eastside 19-16 to top the eight-team field.

    “It was tough, but it feels great,” said GHS boys coach Paul Spradling, who guided the Hurricanes to a pair of state titles in the late 1990s. “The kids worked hard and we played a tough schedule, and I think it helped us today. I am real proud of them.”

    Goldberg, who helped Eastside to a district title and a state tournament berth a year ago, did not drop a game in his straight-set win over Springfield at No. 1 singles. With the win, the sophomore earned an individual berth to the Class 3A state tournament. Goldberg and Fiegel, The Sun’s 2010 player of the year, also claimed a state tournament berth with their title at No. 1 doubles.

    Fiegel titled at No. 2 singles, while freshman Peter Slaton won at No. 3 singles and teamed with Justin Zambelli to win at No. 2 doubles. The Hurricanes will host a first-round regional match on Tuesday. John Yoo won at No. 4 singles and Austin Gillette won at No. 5 singles for the Rams, who will travel for the opening round.

    On the girls side, Susy Romero and Kelsey Mercer each titled at No. 2 and No. 3 singles respectively to lead Columbia, which made its first state tournament appearance a year ago. Romero and Chrissie Reichert cruised to the No. 1 doubles title and secured a state tournament berth. Mercer and Taylor Owens also won at No. 2 doubles for the Tigers, who will be at home to open the regional playoffs.

    “It was very important. That was their No. 1 goal when we started off this season. They said they wanted to go back-to-back,” said Columbia coach Tabatha McMahon, whose club topped GHS by three points. “I am proud. It is all about the girls. They were the ones who wanted it so much.”

    At No. 1 singles, Eve Sampson of GHS outlasted Reichert, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted just over two hours. Sampson earned the individual state tournament berth. Sara Lima won the No. 4 singles title for the Hurricanes, who will be on the road Tuesday for their first regional playoff match since 2008. Eastside’s Tatyana Mann took home a district title at No. 5 singles.

    Peter Slaton. Photo by Doug Finger

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