• A to Z with Kiah Turner

    From: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20130411/ARTICLES/130419917/0/search

    Published by the Gainesville Sun on April 11, 2013:

    SCHOOL: P.K. Yonge

    YEAR: Junior

    POSITION: No. 2 singles, No. 1 doubles

    HEIGHT: 5-foot-6

    Area tennis player I would pay to watch play: Zach Goldberg (Gainesville). He’s a good player. He’s a very good competitor, and I enjoy watching him play.

    Best sports movie I’ve ever watched: “Glory Road.”

    Coach Robert Taylor’s best words of advice for me: “Finish it off.”

    Dinner on an ideal night? Moe’s.

    Easiest class or part of my school day: Lunch.

    Favorite tournament to watch — U.S. Open, Wimbledon, French Open or Australian Open? U.S. Open. Because it’s here in the states.

    Greatest tennis player in the world right now? Serena Williams.

    Hoisting the state championship trophy this season will take … A lot of hard work. Last year was my first time going to state and not bringing back anything.

    Interesting thing about me off the court: I like to hang out with my family.

    Joker on the team? Maddie Sagas. She’s just silly in general. She will blurt out the weirdest stuff.

    Key to having a good serve is … The toss.

    Least favorite P.K. Yonge sports moment? Losing a match to Eastside in February.

    My ultimate goal as a tennis player is to … Win all four slams.

    Nickname? K.T.

    One person in my life who inspires me most: My older brother Van Turner.

    Potential college major? I’m undecided on that. I really don’t know. I think about it all the time.

    Quiet time activity? Listen to music. I like R&B.

    Reading the newspaper or going online to get my high school sports coverage? In print.

    Service ace, forehand winner, backhand winner or an overhead smash to win a match? All of the above.

    Transitioning back to playing doubles with teammate Jazz Whittaker this season after taking a year off has been …Not that hard. (As a) matter of fact we have played (together before), and we have such good chemistry with one another for two years.

    University or college choice? I want to go to the University of Florida.

    Van Turner’s shooting stroke or Kiah Turner’s tennis swing — which Blue Wave sibling has better form? Most definitely my tennis swing. But we both have our flaws and our strengths.

    Winning the District 4-1A championship and the Region 2-1A title in No. 2 singles, No. 1 doubles and as a team has been … Not much of a change. We have won districts the past six years, and it’s really not anything new to us. But getting past regionals was great. It feels really good right now. We just need to keep our mind focused and have our head in the game for regional finals.

    Xbox, PlayStation or Wii? We actually have a Wii and a PlayStation. My dad got them for my brother and I for Christmas, but my brother just keeps it in his room. I don’t really play it.

    Year I was born: 1996.

    Zoo animal I like most: Koala bear.


  • Four Gainesville High School Tennis Teams Advance to State Championships

    By Larry Savage, Gainesville Sun


    Gainesville High boys tennis team did what was expected of them Thursday, making quick work of Ocala Forest at Northeast Park in the Region 3-3A finals.

    The state title-contending Hurricanes did just that before rain took over.

    Gainesville’s Zach Goldberg, Cole Fiegel, Pete Slaton and Jacob Gordon — the team’s top four singles players — gave up just one game between them in posting convincing wins and sending the Hurricanes to their third straight state tournament, beating Forest 4-0.

    “It feels great,” said Paul Spradling, who in his 26 years as GHS coach led the ‘Canes to state titles in 1996 and 1998. “We kind of thought we would do this. The district is really not real strong. But I played those hard matches during the season on purpose, hoping they would get us ready.”

    GHS, unbeaten in the regular season, looked plenty ready early on against the Wildcats. Fiegel, at No. 2, defeated Nick Wigelsworth, 6-0, 6-0, then Slaton, at No. 3, disposed of Palmer Lovell, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 1 Goldberg beat Philip Libby, 6-1, 6-0. Just before an hour elapsed in the match, Gordon, at No. 4, finished off Mark Debolt, 6-0, 6-0, to clinch the match.

    “Jacob has been the difference in this team this year,” Spradling said. “He is playing a lot better. Last year, he struggled a bit and we won matches like 4-3. But he is playing really well. The kid he played he struggled with at districts, but beat him 6-0, 6-0 today.”

    First-round matches at the 3A state tournament, which will be played at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, start at 8 a.m.

    Eastside girls win

    For the first time since 2005, the Eastside girls tennis team earned a state tournament berth after a 6-1 win over Belleview in the Region 3-2A finals at Northside Park.

    Like the Rams did in winning District 5 last week, Eastside won every match but the No. 2 doubles. Freshman Emily Louie-Meadors continued her impressive postseason, posting another shutout in No. 1 singles with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Belleview’s Lauren Bitter. At No. 2 singles, junior Alexandra Sourakov defeated Sarah Perkins (6-1, 7-6), who was sidelined a bit after injuring her ankle.

    Also picking up singles wins for the Rams were Toni Veltcheva, Murielle LeMaire and Angi Liu.

    The No. 1 doubles team of Louie-Medors and Sourakov won by injury default because Perkins couldn’t play. A year ago, the Rams lost to 4-3 to Dade City Pasco in the regional semifinals.

    “It is amazing, I knew we had it in us,” said first-year coach Tina Bassi. “It was touch and go there for a couple of matches that were kind of tight and were evenly matched. The girls dug deep and were able to pull it out. It is a triumph for the team and the school. Like I told Mr. (Jeff) Charbonnet (principal), it is the seven-year itch, it was our turn. I am glad it was this year in my first year.”

    The Rams open Class 2A state tournament play on Wednesday morning at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.

    Wave girls move on

    For the second straight season, P.K. Yonge girls tennis team will be returning to the state 1A tournament after a 4-2 win at Jacksonville Episcopal in the Region 2 final.

    Blue Wave coach Robert Taylor credits the No. 4 singles win by eighth grader Madison Sagas — 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 over Eagles junior Catherine Lee — as the turning point in the match.

    “Maddie picked us up when we needed that extra point,” said Taylor, whose girls placed third at state a year ago. “After that first set, she really buckled down, especially in the third set.”

    That point broke a 2-2 tie, and the No. 1 doubles team of Jazz Whittaker and Kiah Turner clinched it with a convincing 6-2, 6-1 win. Both Whittaker and Turner also had wins in singles.

    The Blue Wave start their state tournament on Monday at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.

    “I think we do have a little edge than last year in that we have been there,” Taylor said. “It is a matter of putting it all together. We always try to peak at postseason.”

    Eastside Cruises to Second Straight Trip to State


    by Keith Chartrand (Sun Correspondent)

    The Eastside High School boys tennis team started Thursday afternoon as ground crew members at Jonesville Tennis Center.

    Come evening time they were once again state finalists and part of area prep history — one of four Gainesville tennis teams to advance to the state finals.

    Afternoon showers delayed Eastside’s regional finals matchup against Dade City Pasco nearly three hours. If the matches were going to get in, coach Dave Porter and his Rams would have to make the green clay playable. That meant drying the courts with towels before a single ball could be served.

    “We were all a little tired from all the work we did for about an hour,” Porter said. “Despite that we were very well balanced tonight. Everyone was consistent and fought hard.”

    Eastside’s No. 1, Hyunsoo Joo, had to work the hardest. Joo went three sets against Pasco’s No.1 Austin Riddaugh. After taking the first set 6-2, Joo lost the second 4-6. In the pivotal third set, the Rams’ top player won 6-4.

    In the battle of No. 2s — EHS’ Samuel Cockey and Josh Mooris — Cockey won 6-1, 6-3.

    Camille Kima, the Rams No. 3, won his match 6-2, 6-0 against Alex Mitchell. Maxwell Curtis, Tabong Kima and Evan Robins were also winners for Eastside, which won the match 6-1.

    “It feels great,” said Robins, the senior captain who won his match 6-4, 7-5. “It shows how hard we worked. We didn’t want to just get to states, we want to do well at states.”

    The Class 2A state finals begin Wednesday. The team competition takes place at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.



  • Bobcats Girls Capture 2013 District Tennis Championship with Perfect Day


    By Larry Savage

    high school buchholz teamTo say the Buchholz girls tennis team cruised through the District 1-4A tournament would be an understatement.
    The Bobcats simply and completely dominated it.

    Buchholz won all 21 matches played in the tournament, sweeping the singles and doubles titles on its courts to claim a 12th league title in the last 13 years, totaling a perfect 21 points, well ahead of second-place finisher Fleming Island (11).

    “This rarely happens in high school tennis,” said Bobcats coach Mary Cribbs. “The only time I can think of it happening in districts is six years ago when Buchholz did it in 2007. We pretty much expected to win it, but this kind of result is pretty special.”

    The Bobcats, a perfect 10-0 in the regular season, got singles titles from Kendal Wilby, Courtney Cribb, Lauren Blakely, Lillie Mehan and Maggie Bethea. Buchholz also swept the doubles with Jessica Vesely and Brianne Wright pulling out a three-set win over Taylor Cowart and Hannah Webster of Tallahassee Chiles in No. 2.

    With the victory, Buchholz advances to next Tuesday’s regionals, which it will host Spruce Creek on the Bobcats’ courts at 3 p.m. Cribbs said the team has never advanced beyond the regionals during her 13 years as coach.

    “But this may be the team to do it,” she said. “They have had an amazing season, and the girls have really played so well. It is pretty phenomenal what they have accomplished this season.”

    In boys, Buchholz finished fourth at district. Minki Jun fell to Stephen Wang of Tallahassee Chiles, 6-4, 6-2, in the finals at No. 3, and Jun and Peyton Nimmons lost in the finals of the No. 2 doubles to Pablo Romany and Wang, 6-3, 6-4.

  • 2013 High School Tennis District Champions

    High School Tennis Girls: 

    P.K. Yonge

    Eastside High School

    Buchholz High School

    High School Tennis Boys:

    Oak Hall (fourth straight District Championship)

    Eastside High School

    Gainesville High School

  • A to Z with Zach Goldberg

    By John Boothe

    Correspondent Gainesville Sun

    Photo by Doug Finger/Staff photographer


    Name: Zach Goldberg

    School: Gainesville

    Year: Senior

    Position: No. 1 singles, No. 1 doubles

    Height: 6-foot

    Weight: 150 pounds

    A rea tennis player I would pay to watch play: (GHS senior) Cole Fiegel. He’s a great competitor, he gives a lot of effort and it’s fun to watch him.

    B est sports movie I’ve ever seen: The Waterboy.

    C oach Paul Spradling’s best words of advice for me: “Keep moving forward in doubles and attack the net.”

    D inner on an ideal night? Chipotle.


    E asiest class or part of my school day: Government and Economics. We have an awesome teacher, and it’s a lot of fun.

    F orehand winner, service ace, backhand winner or an overhead smash to win a match? Ace.

    G reatest tennis player in the world right now? Roger Federer.

    Hoisting the state championship trophy this season will take… playing well as a team, everyone showing up and playing like they can.

    I nteresting thing about me off the court: I’ve played violin since I was 4.

    J oker on the team? Jacob Gordon. Coach Spradling says something, and he just shoots it back at him.

    K ey to having a good serve is… keeping your left arm up and your eye on the ball.

    L east favorite Gainesville sports moment? Last year, losing at state (in the No. 2 singles finals).

    M y ultimate goal as a tennis player is to… play four years in college and hopefully play professional tennis.

    N ickname? Zach Attack.

    O ne person in my life who inspires me most: My dad.

    P otential college major? Exercise Science.

    Q uiet time activity? Watch TV.

    R eading the newspaper or going online to get my high school sports coverage? Read the newspaper.

    S igning last November with North Florida to play collegiate tennis was an easy decision because the Ospreys have… Great facilities, great coaches and a great team. It’s a great environment also — a lot of outdoors and stuff.

    T ransitioning back to playing No. 1 singles for GHS this year after being the No. 2 singles player last season was… exciting because it was nice to play No. 2 last year and to let Cole play No. 1. He was playing well, but it was nice to be playing well and to get back the No. 1.

    U.S. Open, Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open — my favorite tournament to watch is… Wimbledon. It’s the oldest grand slam, and it’s the classiest. And also it’s the most fun to watch because of the serving and volleying. There’s a lot more aggressive play.

    V acation spot I love: The beach. Moraira in Spain.

    W inning the District 5-3A championship in No. 1 singles, No. 1 doubles with Peter Slaton and as team on Tuesday was… exhilarating. We’ve been practicing a little bit, and we played really well together.

    X box, PlayStation or Wii? PlayStation.

    Y ear I was born: 1994.

    Z oo animal I like most: Gorilla.





  • College Sophomores Plan Kilimanajaro Climb to Raise Money for School in Tanzania


    Tony Tim Gainesville FL College sophomores plan Kilimanjaro climb to raise money for school in Tanzania

    Tony, left, and Tim Louthan will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for a school for orphans in Tanzania.


    By Shayna Posses, Gainesville Sun Correspondent

    Published: Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.

    Tony and Tim Louthan had a pretty typical freshman year of college. Decked out in the classic male undergrad uniform of polo shirts and ironed khaki shorts, the twins speak eloquently about how busy their freshman year of college was and how they’re still uncertain about their majors.

    This summer, though, the twins will step out of their comfort zone. About 19,340 feet out of their comfort zone, to be precise.

    Between Aug. 11 and Aug. 17, the 19-year-old Eastside High School graduates will attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for a school for orphans in Tanzania.

    “It’s a challenge, both physically and mentally,” Tony Louthan, a Princeton University sophomore, said. “It helps us broaden our horizons. It’s a learning experience.”

    The two will join an international team of 11 other amateur climbers to hike up the largest mountain in Africa as part of an initiative by the nonprofit organization Kujali International. The group of climbers is mainly composed of adults, making the teens feel personally connected to the orphans they’re helping.

    “I think this idea of teenagers — well, we only have a year left — but the idea of teenagers helping teenagers is a powerful image,” Tony Louthan said.

    Kujali International was formed in 2006 by two University of Florida undergraduates, Sydney Schaef and Sarah Lowe. Schaef spent a semester studying at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and decided to start Kujali to combat some of the problems she had witnessed there.

    Lowe and Schaef, now graduate students at the University of Oxford, approached the Louthan brothers in January of this year about becoming involved in the project, because Lowe and Schaef had been students of the Louthans’ parents, both UF history professors. “It was kinda something out of the blue,” said Tim Louthan, a Davidson College sophomore. “I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s extremely ambitious.”

    In 2007, Kujali International partnered with the Tanzanian nonprofit Hananasif Orphanage Center to open its first boarding school for teens, HOCET Secondary School, in

    Mkuranga. This free, private boarding school gives 100 students a career-based education in horticulture, animal husbandry, fine arts, solar energy and entrepreneurship in a sustainable facility.

    The brothers are spending their summer raising money that will be donated directly to the school. Their goal is to raise $20,000.

    They are handling their travel costs and expenses privately, which are running around $3,500 each, they said.

    The twins’ interest in Africa started in high school when they participated in a program through the UF Center for African Studies that taught them about African culture and history. As International Baccalaureate students at Eastside, they worked on extended essays about the apartheid problem in South Africa, traveling to the country with their parents to do research.

    “It’s not at the same level as Tanzania, but we’ve seen some of the poverty,” Tim Louthan said. “This is giving us a chance to appreciate what we have. You don’t want to get caught up in the bubble of privilege.”

    Tony Louthan said he remembers reading a statistic that said one in eight children in Sub-Saharan Africa is orphaned. For the twins, this staggering number inspires them to throw themselves into the difficult cause.

    “It sounds cliched, but it’s about making an impact in one kid’s life,” Tim Louthan said.

    Tony Louthan agreed. “It’s easy,” he said, “to become naive and say, ‘Oh, I’m saving the world,’ but I think you have to stay grounded.”

  • Gainesville Men Finish Second in USTA Super Senior Event


    Special to Gainesville.com
    Published: Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.

    Gainesville’s men’s Super Senior 6.0 team that finished second in the country in the USTA tourney included, from left to right, Alex Kesler, Russ Metler, William Lee Wiltbank, Albert M. Guarino, Malcolm Maden and John William Johnston. (Photo courtesy of USTA)

    The men’s team from Gainesville, representing the USTA Florida Section, finished second at the USTA League 6.0 Super Senior National Championships held at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz., last month.

    The Gainesville team lost to a team from San Juan, Puerto Rico, 3-0 in the championship match. Gainesville had defeated a team from Bluffton, S.C., 2-1 in the semifinals. They advanced by winning their round-robin flight.

    The team was captained by Patrick Phelan and features Alex Kesler, Russ Metler, William Lee Wiltbank, Albert Guarino, Malcolm Maden and John William Johnston and plays at the Jonesville Tennis Center.

    The top four teams in order of finish are: Caribbean Section, Florida Section, Pacific Northwest Section and Southern Section.

    This year’s USTA League 6.0 Super Senior National Championship drew the top 23 teams (eight men’s and 15 women’s) from throughout the nation.

    USTA League was established to provide adult recreational tennis players throughout the country with the opportunity to compete against players of similar ability levels.

  • P.K. Yonge’s Whittaker Captures Team Side State Title 2012


    By Cliff Olsen
    Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 10:09 p.m.

    For the third straight year, P.K. Yonge’s Jazz Whittaker has flourished at the FHSAA Class 1A state tennis tournament.

    On Thursday at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry, the 6-foot junior captured the state title on the team side of the bracket at No. 1 singles.

    Whittaker, The Sun’s 2011 player of the year, got by Jacquelyn Fitz-Randolph of Tampa Carrollwood Day, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 in the finals. She will now face Delray Beach American Heritage’s Rasheeda McAdoo, the winner on the individual side of the draw, for the overall state title today at 8 a.m. McAdoo is the daughter of former NBA MVP Bob McAdoo, who is currently an assistant coach for the Miami Heat.

    “I am really amazed that she is able to bring her game up another level and handle all the pressure around her in the final,” P.K. Yonge coach Robert Taylor said. “She has been able to be more consistent than any of the other girls out there.”

    A year ago, Whittaker teamed with Kiah Turner and the duo won the Class 1A state title on the individual side of the doubles bracket. In 2010, the pair won the state title at No. 2 doubles.

    As for the team, the Blue Wave, making their second state tournament appearance in three years, placed third out of eight teams with six points. P.K. Yonge’s No. 2 doubles team of Turner and Marcela Ifju lost in the semifinals on Thursday.

    “I was super happy with the whole tournament that we were able to get a couple of quality wins here and there,” said Taylor, who is expected to return everyone from this year’s squad. “It is a great starting point for the future.”

    The Gainesville High boys team placed third in the Class 3A state tournament at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs. Peter Slaton led the Hurricanes as the sophomore won a state championship at No. 3 singles. Slaton rallied to knock off Paul Johnson of Naples Barron Collier 0-6, 6-4, 7-5. Zach Goldberg, The Sun’s 2011 player of the year, lost to Arsav Mahonty of Bradenton Lakewood Ranch 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the final at No. 2 singles. Cole Fiegel and Goldberg lost in the semifinals at No. 1 doubles, while Slaton and Justin Zambelli bowed out in the semifinals at No. 2 doubles.

    The Hurricanes, who were sixth out of eight teams at state a year ago, finished third this time around.

    “The kids did a great job this year,” said GHS coach Paul Spradling, who guided the Hurricanes to the Class 5A state title in 1996 and to a share of the championship 1998. “I am disappointed that we didn’t win it all, but we came within one point of being the state runner-up, and with a few breaks could have won it all. It was a great year.”

  • 2012 Sun All Area Boys and Girls Tennis Teams


    By Cliff Olsen
    Published: Friday, June 1, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.

    Note: This is the second in a series of The Sun’s spring sports all-area athletes of the year, selected with the help of coaches.


    First team

    Zach Goldberg, Gainesville, junior: Claimed the District 5-3A title and was the state runner up at No. 2 singles with a 20-1 record. Was also 16-3 and a district champion and a state semifinalist at No. 1 doubles with Cole Fiegel.

    Cole Fiegel, Gainesville, junior: The lefty finished 16-3 and won the District 5-3A crown at No. 1 singles. Was also 16-3 and a district champion and a state semifinalist at No. 1 doubles with Zach Goldberg.

    Erik Vincek, Buchholz, senior: Posted an 16-2 record for the district champion Bobcats; claimed the District 1-4A crown at No. 1 singles and advanced to the Class 4A state tournament semifinals as an individual.

    Frazier Springfield, Eastside, senior: Ended with a 10-5 record at District 5-2A championship at No. 1 singles, and was 10-5 at No. 1 doubles with Jon Yoo as the Rams reached the state tournament for the second time in three years.

    Alex Vlasak, Buchholz, senior: Was 12-3 and the District 1-4A champion at No. 2 singles and advanced to the Class 4A state tournament semifinals with Erik Vincek at No. 1 doubles (14-2).

    Peter Slaton, Gainesville, sophomore: Turned in a perfect 16-0 record and won the District 4-3A title before claiming the state championship at No. 3 singles.

    Second team

    Camille Kima, Eastside, freshman: Was 11-5 and won the District 5-2A crown at No. 2 singles and was 10-5 and a district champ at No. 2 doubles as the Rams qualified for state as a team.

    Andrew Irani, Buchholz, freshman: Posted a 11-5 record at No. 3 singles for the district champion Bobcats.

    Derek Li, Eastside, freshman: Finished with a 13-2 record at No. 4 singles for the district champion Rams, who placed sixth as a team at the Class 2A state tournament.

    Harrison Thibault, Oak Hall, freshman: Despite a 4-10 record, he claimed the District 4-1A title at No. 1 singles to clinch a Class 1A state tournament berth; also qualified for state at No. 1 doubles with Apurv Suman.

    Jon Yoo, Eastside, senior: Turned in a 13-2 record to win the District 5-2A crown at No. 3 singles and was 10-5 at No. 1 doubles with Frazier Springfield as the Rams reached the state tournament for the second time in three years.

    Peyton Nimmons, Buchholz, sophomore: Was 11-5 at No. 4 singles for the district champion Bobcats.

    Honorable mention

    Max Curtis, Eastside, sophomore; Jacob Gordon, Gainesville, sophomore; Justin Zambelli, Gainesville, senior; Padrick O’Brien, Keystone Heights, senior; Jared Velazquez, Keystone Heights, freshman; D.J. Mayer, Keystone Heights, freshman;

    Apurv Suman, Oak Hall, senior; Nick Gallman, Santa Fe, junior.

    Coach of the Year

    Paul Spradling, Gainesville

    The veteran coach guided the Hurricanes to an 14-2 record, which included winning the District 5-3A title, for its second straight district crown. GHS also breezed through both of its regional playoff matches and clinched its second consecutive trip to the FHSAA Class 3A state tournament. The ‘Canes ended up finishing third out of eight teams at state. Peter Slaton claimed the state title at No. 3 singles to highlight GHS’ trip to Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs. Spradling, who takes home this award for the second consecutive year, also led GHS to the Class 5A state title in 1996 and to a share of the state championship 1998.


    First team

    Jazz Whittaker, P.K. Yonge, junior: Posted a 14-1 record singles record, claimed the District 4-1A crown at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles and qualified for state; captured the FHSAA Class 1A state title on the team side of the bracket at No. 1 singles.

    Kiah Turner, P.K. Yonge, sophomore: Finished 16-1 and won the District 4-1A title at No. 2 singles and reached the state semifinals at No. 2 singles.

    Chrissie Reichert, Columbia, senior: Was 15-4 at No. 1 singles and won the District 5-3A title to clinch an individual berth to the Class 3A state tournament.

    Abigail Vlasak, Oak Hall, freshman: Turned in a 10-4 record at No. 1 singles and helped lead the Eagles to their second straight regional-playoff appearance.

    Lillie Mehan, Eastside, freshman: Turned in a 20-1 record at No. 1 singles, won District 5-2A title to clinch state tournament berth, also led the Rams to the regional playoffs for first time since 2005.

    Courtney Cribb, Buchholz, sophomore: Compiled an 11-3 mark at No. 1 singles and a 14-2 record at No. 1 doubles for the Bobcats.

    Second team

    Jean Saltivan, St. Francis, senior: Was 10-5 at No. 1 singles and was the District 4-1A runner up for the Wolves.

    Madison Sagas, P.K. Yonge, seventh-grade: Posted a 11-2 mark at No. 3 singles and claimed the District 4-1A title at No. 1 doubles with Jazz Whittaker.

    Selin Yaylali, Oak Hall, sixth-grade: Finished as the District 4-1A runner up at No. 2 singles with a 9-2 record for the Eagles.

    Allie Sourakov, Eastside, sophomore: Was 16-1 and was the District 5-2A runner up at No. 2 singles for the Rams.

    Mara Lance, Suwannee, senior: District 2-2A champion at No. 3 singles with a 12-2 record; was 10-1 and district runner-up at No. 2 doubles.

    Caroline Karafa, Buchholz, senior: Claimed the District 1-4A crown at No. 4 singles, finishing with a 10-4 mark, while also posting a 10-6 record at No. 2 doubles for the Bobcats.

    Honorable mention:

    Susan Stanfill, Buchholz, sophomore; Jessie Bates, Columbia, junior; Heather Rountree, Columbia, senior; Amaleah Mirti, Eastside, sophomore; Brianna Harper, Gainesville, senior; Carly Brasfield, Gainesville, senior; Samantha Jackson, Interlachen, senior; Elizabeth Gray, Interlachen, senior; Kim Stephens, Interlachen, senior; Natalie Butcher, Interlachen, senior; Colton Stark, Newberry, junior; Dawntavia Davis, Newberry, senior; Sophia Papa, Oak Hall, sixth grade; Gaelin McLeod, Oak Hall, freshman;

    Marcela Ifju, P.K. Yonge, seventh-grade; Darby Townsend, P.K. Yonge, eighth-grade; Amanda Krpan, P.K. Yonge, senior; Maureen Brennan, P.K. Yonge, senior; Maggie Bethea, Santa Fe, freshman; Kim Bill, Santa Fe, senior; Laura-Kaitlyn Boatright, Suwanne, senior

    Coach of the Year

    Robert Taylor, P.K. Yonge

    He takes home this award for the second time in three seasons. Taylor guided the Blue Wave to a 7-3 record and to their fifth straight district championship and also steered P.K. Yonge back to the FHSAA Class 1A state tournament for the second time in three years. At the state tournament held at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry, the Blue Wave finished third out of the eight-team field. Highlighting P.K. Yonge’s trip to state was No. 1 singles player Jazz Whittaker who captured the Class 1A state title on the team side of the bracket, before falling in the overall state title match.

    Note: The Gainesville Sun all-area teams, player of the year and coach of the year were selected by Cliff Olsen with help from area coaches and Sun high school sports editor Larry Savage. If a team is not represented, it is because the coach did not respond to e-mails sent to the school requesting information and numerous reminders in the newspaper.

  • 2012 Gainesville Sun Tennis Players of the Year


    By Cliff Olsen
    Published: Friday, June 1, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.




    The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior, who was The Sun’s player of the year as a freshman in 2009, almost didn’t play his final season of high school tennis. While Vincek admitted to being burned out on the sport and thought about quitting prior to the season, his best friend and doubles partner Alex Vlasak and Bobcats interim coach Jay Godwin convinced him otherwise. Things worked out for Vincek, who posted a 16-2 mark at No. 1 singles, losing just five sets all season. He claimed his third consecutive district title at No. 1 singles, clinching his third straight trip to the FHSAA Class 4A state tournament. Vincek also earned the top-seed on the individual side of the draw and reached the state semifinals. At No. 1 doubles, Vincek and Vlasak, “The Killer Vs” as they are called by Godwin, finished with a 14-2 record. The duo captured the District 1-4A title and advanced to the state semifinals. Vincek is ranked 10th in the state in the boys 18 rankings, according to the USTA’s May rankings.

    Vincek is still a big fan of the Rubik’s Cube. Although, he said there was a while where he didn’t pick up the 3-D puzzle, he can still solve it in about 35 seconds. Vincek, who has a 4.35 weighted GPA, is planning to attend Florida in the fall and hopes to be involved with the Gators men’s tennis team.

    “I had an interview with Andy Jackson the (then) UF coach and he said it would be really tough to make the team, so I kind of lost a lot of confidence there,” Vincek said. “I really wanted to go to UF and play for their team (as a walk on). He didn’t say yes or no, he just said you might be able to, but he was kind of hinting that you’re probably not. I pretty much got the message.

    “I might even still try to practice with the UF team, I know some guys there.”


    “I was pretty happy. I put my whole life into it. I think that was one of the things (the player of the year award) in my mind, let’s give it one last try. I started as the player of the year and then end as the player of the year, that would be nice. I did it, so that’s great.”- Erik Vincek.

    “I definitely lost my love for the game a little bit, I didn’t even want to touch a racket,” Vincek said. “They (Vlasak and Godwin) both really motivated me to keep on playing and helped me realize that I am not going to stop playing tennis and that I love it.

    “I was glad because I got back to my prime game and I played probably even better than I ever had.”




    For the fifth straight year, a P.K. Yonge girls tennis player takes home this award. The 6-foot Whittaker wins this award for the second straight year. She turned in a 14-1 mark, which included winning her second straight District 4-1A title at No. 1 singles. She followed with a pair of regional victories in leading the Blue Wave to their second FHSAA Class 1A state tournament appearance in three years. At the state tournament held at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry, Whittaker claimed the state title at No. 1 singles on the team side of the bracket. Although she fell to Delray Beach American Heritage’s Rasheeda McAdoo in the overall state title match, Whittaker became the first area girls tennis player to play for an overall singles state championship since Eastside’s Amanda Field was the Class 4A runner-up in 1998. Whittaker and Madison Sagas also won a district title at No. 1 doubles for the Blue Wave, which placed third at state as a team. Last spring, Whittaker teamed with Kiah Turner and the duo won the Class 1A state title on the individual side of the doubles bracket. In 2010, Whittaker and Turner won the Class 1A state crown at No. 2 doubles. Whittaker is ranked 58th in the state in the girls 18 rankings, according to the USTA’s May rankings.

    “During the year, I had a few set things,” Whittaker said. “I wanted to beat everyone pretty soundly and I wanted to have the whole team get to state this year because I thought it would be a good experience for the younger girls.”

    Personal notes

    She played volleyball for P.K. Yonge as a sophomore, but decided to switch fall sports as a junior. Instead she was a member of the Blue Wave swim team this past fall. Whittaker was an honorable mention all-area selection in the 100 breast stroke and swam on the 200 medley relay team. Whittaker said she did that for cross training and to build more muscle. Whittaker said that she plans on playing tennis for a Division-1 school at the collegiate level and has started to generate interest from schools. The right-hander lists her kick serve, her forehand and her net game in general as her strengths.


    I kind of forgot about the award I wasn’t really thinking about it too much. I think I was in History class, I was in school (when I received the message about winning the award). I was goofing around with my friends and said, ‘Winning.’ They were like, what did you win this time? I told them tennis player of the year. Mr. Bourn is my teacher and we were doing busy work. I am goofy and they are used to it.” — Jazz Whittaker.

    Brad McClenny/Staff photographer

    Personal notes