The Wiregrass Ranch boys tennis team faced little resistance in finishing the regular season undefeated and earning district and regional titles.
At the state finals, though, the Bulls found the competition to be considerably more challenging.
Wiregrass Ranch’s top four singles players fell in the first round Monday along with both doubles teams in the Class 3A tournament at Altamonte Springs’ Sanlando Park.
The only player to win and earn a point for the Bulls was Dan Helfrich at No. 5 singles, who opened with a 6-2, 6-3 victory. Helfrich, a junior, lost in the semifinals to No. 1 seed Paul Johnson of Naples Barron Collier 6-0, 6-0.
“It was definitely a little bit of a learning experience for them,” Wiregrass Ranch coach Dave Wilson said.
The Bulls’ top singles player Courage Okungbowa drew second-seeded William Neuner and lost 6-4, 6-2. No. 2 Spencer Ong fell to Lakewood Ranch’s Arnav Mohanty 6-2, 6-0. Eric Busch at No. 3 singles was beaten by Gainesville’s Peter Slaton 6-2, 6-3. And Jaime Feliciano lost 6-2, 6-0 to the top seed at No. 4 singles, Barron Collier’s Jorge Vargas.
Courage and Ong fell 6-1, 6-3 to Gainesville’s Cole Fiegel and Zachary Goldberg at No. 1 doubles. The Bulls’ No. 2 doubles team Busch and Koustubh Ramesh bowed out to top-seeded Maurice Acree and Austin Racine of Washington 6-2, 6-3.
“The tough one was for Spencer because he’s done now,” Wilson said, referring to the team’s lone senior. “The other guys are looking to learn from this and get back. They know what they have to do to get to states next year and the level they need to get to in order to do well here.”
In Class 3A individual singles action at Lake Brantley High in Altamonte Springs, River Ridge’s Tijana Subotic dropped a tight 7-5, 7-5 decision to Leah Rojecki of Navarre in the opening round.
Subotic and partner Jordyn Garcia are still alive in the individual doubles bracket. The senior pair earned a first-round bye and will play at 9 a.m. today against Navarre’s Rojecki and Jordan Grissom.