• 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.”

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