• A to Z with Peter Slaton


    By John Boothe
    Correspondent, Gainesville Sun
    Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
    Last Modified: Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 6:35 p.m.

     peter slaton a to z 2

    SCHOOL: Gainesville

    YEAR: Senior

    POSITION: No. 1 singles, No. 1 doubles

    HEIGHT: 6-foot-1

    WEIGHT: 165 pounds

    Area tennis player I would pay to watch play: My partner (at No. 1 doubles), Jacob Gordon. He’s got a big first serve, and he fights. That one-handed backhand, when he gets in it, is pretty sweet.

    Best movie I’ve ever seen: “The Intouchables” (a 2011 French film).

    Coach Paul Spradling’s best words of advice for me: “Move your feet, keep the ball in play and stay relaxed.”

    Dinner on an ideal night? Leonardo’s 706.

    Easiest class or part of my school day: Ms. Paxson’s environmental science.

    Feeling I had after winning the District 3-3A title last week in my first year as Gainesville High’s No. 1 singles player: It means a lot. I just felt like it was my time to step up to the plate and perform.

    Greatest tennis player in the world right now? Roger Federer.

    Hoisting the state championship trophy as an individual competitor at the Class 3A state finals next Friday in Altamonte Springs will take … Focus. That’s going to be the main thing. I’m going to have to work for every point, limit my unforced errors and keep my feet going.

    NOTE: Slaton won two state titles as the Hurricanes’ No. 3 singles player in his sophomore and junior seasons.

    Interesting thing about me off the court: I’ve played piano since fifth grade.

    Joker on the team? Definitely Jake Gordon, without a doubt. He adds funny comments, and he doesn’t laugh at his own jokes, which makes it even funnier.

  • Oak Hall Boys, Eastside Boys, P.K. Yonge Girls Heading to State


    From the Gainesville Sun

    By Larry Savage

    The last time Oak Hall boys tennis reached the state tournament, Logan Blaser was 9 years old and had only played tennis about a year. Now, the junior No. 2, along with standout eighth-grade twins Grey and Harry Cacciatore, Brandon Cooke and Nash Dean will be making the trip next week, eight years since the last time John Dickinson and Tom Simpson’s crew reached the ultimate goal in 2006.

    On its home court on Thursday, Oak Hall defeated Jacksonville Episcopal 5-2, sweeping the top three singles and both doubles for the historic win. The Eagles join Eastside’s boys and P.K. Yonge’s girls, both of whom will be making their third straight trip to state next week in Seminole County.

    “It is really a special moment,” said Dickinson, in his 25th season as coach. “I am really delighted to take this bunch to state and go myself. It is not routine. I thought we played a great team with a lot of tradition. A team that is comfortable being here, that is loaded with seniors. Here my little rat-pack group of kids came out and played their hearts out.”

    Harry Cacciatore got things started for Oak Hall, beating Davis Walker of Episcopal at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-3. His brother Grey soon followed, running Sean Halloran ragged in his 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 1, and Blaser finished off with Sid Yarlagadda soon after at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-1.

    “Getting those victories in the top three singles took a little wind out of Episcopal’s sails,” Dickinson said. “We have played them many times at regionals but don’t have a lot to show for it. I think they (his players) felt they were in a good spot.”

    After Cooke and Dean fell in No. 4 and No. 5 singles, it came down to doubles, where Oak Hall only needed to win one of the two matches. They ended up winning both.

    But it was Harry Cacciatore and Cooke that clinched it at No. 2 doubles, beating Ross Clements and Walter Wood, 6-1, 6-3. Grey Cacciatore and Blaser rallied after losing the first set to top Walker and Charlie Conway, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

    “It was a little unexpected,” Dickinson said of No. 2 doubles team. “That wasn’t our strongest team. Brandon Cooke played his best, he did his part. He is the least polished player we have, but he hangs in there. He gives it his best.”

    “Going into the match, we didn’t expect to win that easy,” said Harry Cacciatore. “After the first set, we were sure we would take them down.”

    “It is a great feeling going to state, knowing we worked the entire year to do it,” Cooke said.

    Oak Hall will be one of eight teams competing in the 1A boys state tournament, which opens on Wednesday at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.

    “I’m just so excited to go to state,” Blaser said. “It has been a long time since we have gone. Winning those top three singles set the tone for the rest of the match.”

    Grey Cacciatore, who was heading to state as district champion at No. 1, is happier to be going with his team.

    “It feels great to go to state with my whole team,” he said. “I get to miss some days at school. It is great to play together the game we love.”

    Sophomore Nash Dean, Oak Hall’s No. 5 singles player, is excited about traveling to the big event.

    “It is pretty awesome,” he said. “I was hoping we could go. This feeling is amazing.”

    REGION 3-2A BOYS: Eastside won four of five singles and both doubles to down Orlando Bishop Moore convincingly, 6-1, at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, earning the Rams their third straight trip to state.

    Picking up singles wins were Benjamin Brandt (No. 2), Maxwell Curtis (No. 3), Hyunsoo Joo (No. 4) and Samuel Lockey (No. 5). Camille Kima lost the only three-set match of the day in falling to Bishop Moore’s Jack Hoy at No. 1.

    Curtis and Joo, along with Brandt and Derek Li, respectively, won both the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles for the Rams, who open state tournament competition Monday at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.

    REGION 2-1A GIRLS: P.K. Yonge earned its third straight trip to state with a 4-2 win over Jacksonville Episcopal at Jonesville Tennis Center. The Blue Wave picked up three singles victories and one doubles to clinch it. The biggest singles win was by freshman Marcela Ifju at No. 2, rallying after dropping her second set to Danielle Corbin 2-6 and turning it around, winning the decisive third set 6-2.

    “I was really proud of Marcela today,” said Blue Wave coach Robert Taylor. “Winning that first set, then losing the second and finding a way to win that third. I was also happy for her sister, Daniela, winning her first singles match in a regional final. Every year it seems one of the young ones steps up, last year it was Matty (Sagas) and this year it was Marcela. She stepped up in that third set. She has to keep that mental focus and understand that every point is just one point, it doesn’t determine how the match will turn out.”

    Senior Kiah Turner cruised at No. 1, beating Taryn Petersen, 6-0, 6-0. Daniela Ifju, a seventh-grader, defeated Bianca Cornthwaite of Episcopal at No. 4, 6-3, 6-3. The No. 1 doubles team of Turner and Madison Sagas easily won their match in straight sets.

    The Blue Wave open the 1A state tournament on Wednesday at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.

    REGION 1-4A GIRLS: Buchholz fell at Port Orange Spruce Creek, 4-1, as the Hawks won three singles and No. 1 doubles to clinch their ninth trip to state in the last 10 years. Bobcats sophomore No. 1 Kendal Wilby, who fell to Spruce Creek senior Meghan Zimmer, advances to state as an individual by winning No. 1 singles at districts.

    REGION 3-2A GIRLS: Eastside’s sophomore No. 1 Emily Louie-Meadors won her match, but the Rams lost the remaining four singles matches to fall at Orlando Lake Highland Prep, 4-1, in the regional finals, denying them a second straight trip to state. Louie-Meadors will go to state as an individual by winning No. 1 singles at districts.

  • GHS Hurricanes 2013 State Tennis Championship Finalists



    After two days of competition, the Gainesville boys tennis team narrowly missed winning its fifth state title but still walked away from Tuesday’s Class 3A championships with individual hardware.

    The Hurricanes claimed two state titles in No. 1 and No. 3 singles play, however, two-time defending state champion Naples Barron Collier was able to edge runner-up Gainesville by six points in the finals standings. The Cougars won three singles championships along with both doubles titles to amass 18 points.

    In the No. 1 singles finals, Gainesville senior Zach Goldberg continued his perfect season with a 2-6, 4-6, 7-5 win over Barron Collier’s Jorge Vargas. While senior Cole Fiegel lost in No. 2 singles, GHS junior Peter Slaton claimed the No. 3 singles title for the second straight year with a straight-set victory against the Cougars’ David Fong.

    Goldberg, who earned his first state championship at the meet, teamed with Slaton in the No. 1 doubles finals against Barron Collier’s duo of Vargas and No. 2 singles champion Alan Sweet. After splitting the first two sets with the Hurricanes, Vargas and Sweet pulled away in the third for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win.

    Barron Collier’s No. 2 doubles team of Paul Johnson and Doug Small would then ensure its ninth state title in school history by defeating Fiegel and Jacob Gordon 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 in the finals.

    “I am extremely proud of my guys that gave it all they had,” said GHS coach Paul Spradling, who has won three state championships with the Hurricanes. “With a few breaks we would have won it. But just like a bad bounce of a ball, it didn’t go our way.

    “These guys represented their school, family and hometown very well.”

    As the No. 1 singles winner, Goldberg plays one last match today at 8 a.m. for the overall singles championship against Gulfport Boca Ciega’s Dan Stefan, who won the individual singles title on Tuesday.

    high school tennis zach and peter

  • The Sun’s 2013 High School Tennis Players of the Year

    By John Boothe
    Published: Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.



    Soon after trying out for the Buchholz girls tennis team, Kendal Wilby had to raise her expectations for her first year in a Bobcats uniform. To Wilby’s surprise, she locked up the Bobcats’ No. 1 singles slot as a freshman and marched to an 11-1 record before falling in the Class 4A state meet as an individual quarterfinalist. In one of Buchholz’s most dominant performances of the year, Wilby helped lead the Bobcats to a District 1-4A championship with her titles in No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. After going 12-0 as a team in the regular season, Buchholz continued its perfect run by winning all 21 matches in the tournament. While the Bobcats missed out on a team berth to the state meet, Wilby advanced to Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs behind the strength of her individual and doubles performances. “It was kind of mixed feelings, because I really wanted my team to come with me (to the state meet),” Wilby said. “But then again, I was really happy because as a freshman I was really excited that my first year I had made it to state. Even in doubles, me and my partner made it to state.”

    Personal notes

    While Wilby has excelled from an early age on the tennis court, her family background is steeped in the swimming pool. Both of Wilby’s parents are former University of Kentucky swimmers. Her father, Martyn Wilby, is an associate head coach with the UF men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, while her mother, Jill Wilby, currently helps run the Gator Swim Club.


    “I didn’t really know what the level was of high school tennis when I first started. Once I kind of got a feel for everything, it kind of changed because I knew I could do really well. It made my goals higher.” — Kendal Wilby



    Before he could win a state championship, Zach Goldberg had to first edge one of his teammates in a position battle. The 6-foot, 150-pound Goldberg entered his final season at Gainesville unsure whether he or fellow senior Cole Fiegel would hold the mantle as the team’s No. 1 singles player this year. While Goldberg ultimately won the job back for the first time since his sophomore year, he used the preseason competition to spark the Hurricanes on a torrid run through the Class 3A ranks. Goldberg — who lost just once this year — advanced to the state championship match for the fourth straight season where he claimed the Class 3A No. 1 team singles title. Behind Goldberg’s individual championship, and runner-up result in No. 1 doubles with Peter Slaton, Gainesville finished second overall at the Class 3A state meet behind two-time defending champion Naples Barron Collier. Goldberg reeled off 22 straight wins this season — including District 5-3A and Region 3-3A title victories — before losing in the overall state singles title match to No. 1 individual champion Dan Stefan of Boca Ciega.

    Goldberg, who was the Sun’s 2011 Boys Tennis Player of the Year, signed last November to play tennis at the University of North Florida. He plans to major in exercise science. Along with his daily training routine, Goldberg said he wants to play in as many adult tournaments as possible this summer to prepare for college, beginning with a Futures tournament in Melbourne from June 10-16.


    “Moving into state we were all playing pretty well, so we thought we had a good chance to win state, but we came up short. We were all watching each other during the final day when we were close. During the morning, we saw that we ended up losing, but we were all watching each other because everyone did well at state.” — Zach Goldberg


  • The Sun’s 2013 All-Area Tennis Teams



    By John Boothe


    First team

    Jazz Whittaker, P.K. Yonge, senior: The two-time Sun Girls Tennis Player of the Year turned in another strong season by winning her third straight District 4-1A title and advancing to the state quarterfinals in No. 1 singles and doubles.

    Kiah Turner, P.K. Yonge, junior: Posted a 9-1 record at No. 2 singles, claiming district and regional championships for the Blue Wave. Was a state semifinalist in singles play and teamed with Whittaker in No. 1 doubles.

    Kendal Wilby, Buchholz, freshman: Compiled an 11-1 record in her first year with the Bobcats, including a district title win in No. 1 singles and doubles. Advanced to the Class 4A state meet as an individual and in doubles with Courtney Cribb.

    Abigail Vlasak, Oak Hall, sophomore: The District 4-1A runner-up in both No. 1 singles and doubles for the second-place Eagles. Won her singles match at regionals. Went 7-1 during the regular season in singles play and 5-1 in doubles.

    Emily Louie-Meadors, Eastside, freshman: The District 5-2A champion in No. 1 singles and doubles. Went 11-3 in singles play and reached the Class 2A state quarterfinals. Was a state semifinalist in No. 1 doubles with Allie Sourakov.

    Allie Sourakov, Eastside: junior: Finished with a 10-3 record this season and claimed district titles in No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. Went 12-2 overall in doubles play with Louie-Meadors before losing in the state semifinals.

    Second team

    Courtney Cribb, Buchholz, junior: The District 1-4A champion at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. Helped lead Bobcats to their 12th district title in 13 seasons with her 10-2 singles record.

    Lauren Blakely, Buchholz, senior: Went undefeated during her final regular season with the Bobcats. Earned district title at No. 3 singles.

    Madison Sagas, P.K. Yonge, eighth grade: The district finalist finished with a 6-3 record at No. 4 singles. Paired with eighth-grader Marcela Ifju to win the District 4-1A title in No. 2 doubles.

    Selin Yaylali, Oak Hall, seventh grade: The District 4-1A runner-up at both No. 2 singles and doubles. Posted an 8-1 singles mark during the regular season. Won her singles match at regionals.

    Gaelin McLeod, Oak Hall, sophomore: Claimed the District 4-1A title at No. 3 singles and was runner-up at No. 2 doubles. Was undefeated during the regular season in both singles (7-0) and doubles (6-0) play.

    Serena Colton Stark, Newberry, senior: Compiled a 6-1 record at No. 1 singles in her final season with the Panthers.

    Honorable mention: Marcela Ifju, P.K. Yonge, eighth grade; Darby Townsend, P.K. Yonge, freshman; Gaelin McLeod, Oak Hall, sophomore; Lillie Mehan, Buchholz, sophomore; Maggie Bethea, Buchholz, sophomore; Madison Parenti, Gainesville, senior; Sarah Lima, Gainesville, senior; Heather Borah, Santa Fe, junior.

    COACH OF THE YEAR: Robert Taylor, P.K. Yonge

    The Blue Wave continued their run of success in the postseason this year with a sixth straight district championship and second consecutive berth to the Class 1A state tournament. Taylor guided P.K. Yonge to a 9-4 record this season, despite having two eighth graders and a freshman among his top-five players. The Blue Wave finished eighth overall at the state meet, highlighted by Turner’s semifinals berth in No. 2 singles.


    First team

    Zach Goldberg, Gainesville, senior: The Class 3A No. 1 team singles state champion posted a 22-1 record this season and also claimed Class 3A district and regional titles. The four-time all-area selection teamed with Peter Slaton in No. 1 doubles to win district and regional championships. The duo finished as Class 3A state runner-up.

    Cole Fiegel, Gainesville, senior: The District 5-3A and Region 3-3A champion finished as the Class 3A state runner-up in No. 2 singles with a 22-1 record. Was second at state tourney in No. 2 doubles while playing with Jacob Gordon. The pair also claimed district and regional titles.

    Peter Slaton, Gainesville, junior: Won second-straight Class 3A No. 3 singles state title and finished with a 22-1 overall record. Also claimed district and regional titles this season.

    Hyunsoo Joo, Eastside, freshman: Turned in an 11-8 record at No. 1 singles en route to the District 5-2A and Region 3-2A titles. Teamed with Camille Kima to win No. 1 doubles at district and regional championships.

    Samuel Cockey, Eastside, freshman: District 5-2A and Region 3-2A champion at No. 2 singles. Paired with EHS sophomore Derek Li to claim No. 2 doubles title at both districts and regionals.

    Logan Blaser, Oak Hall, sophomore: Finished with an 11-3 mark this season as the Eagles’ No. 1 singles player and team captain. Capped season with District 4-1A title.

    Second team

    Jacob Gordon, Gainesville, junior: The Hurricanes’ No. 4 singles player captured the District 5-3A and Region 3-3A titles and finished his season with a 17-6 overall record.

    Max Portillo, P.K. Yonge, sophomore: The District 4-1A champion in No. 2 singles finished his season with a 8-3 record.

    Camille Kima, Eastside, sophomore: Won both district and regional championships for EHS while competing at No. 3 singles.

    Maxwell Curtis, Eastside, junior: Helped Eastside advance to Class 2A state meet behind his district and regional titles at No. 4 singles.

    Tabong Kima, Eastside, senior: District 5-2A and Region 3-2A champion at No. 5 singles.

    D.J. Mayer, Keystone Heights, sophomore: Posted a 10-1 record in No. 3 singles play this year to improve to 20-1 over the last two seasons. Teamed with Jared Velazquez for an 11-0 mark at No. 2 doubles in 2013.

    Honorable mention: Sam Perelman, Buchholz, junior; Peyton Nimmons, Buchholz, junior; Andrew Irani, Buchholz, sophomore; Nick Gallman, Santa Fe, senior; Shri-Ram Poddar, Santa Fe, junior; Jared Velasquez, Keystone Heights, sophomore; Grant McGee, Keystone Heights, junior.

    COACH OF THE YEAR: Paul Spradling, Gainesville

    Spradling guided the Hurricanes to a 19-0 mark this season, capped by his team’s runner-up finish and a pair of individual championships at the Class 3A state meet. Gainesville also captured a Region 3-2A title and won its third straight district championship under Spradling’s watch. While the longtime GHS coach narrowly missed adding his third overall state title trophy, he has earned Sun Coach of the Year honors in each of the last three seasons.

  • 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.