Wharton’s bid for a fourth straight state team title fell short on Day 1 of the Class 4A state team finals at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.
But No. 1 singles player Ben Hwang will play for an individual title starting Thursday at 8 a.m. The top-seeded Hwang survived a scare in the first round Wednesday, edging Spanish River’s Nate Shannok 7-6, 0-6, 6-2.
Despite dropping the first set in the semifinal, he won when his opponent retired four games into the third set, 2-6, 6-4, 2-2.
Wharton received first-round wins from its top three singles players, but No. 2 Rohit Navelkar and No. 3 Sam Chaffin fell in the semifinals.
4A: Lone Plant girl moves on to finals
Plant’s quest for state gold ended abruptly when four of the Panthers’ five singles players lost their first-round matches.
No. 4 Natalie Franklin was the only Plant player to advance, earning a straight-sets win. Franklin advanced to Thursday’s finals with a tight 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) win over Spanish River’s Paulina Malts.
Plant No. 1 Blair Martin, who entered the state tournament unbeaten, was shocked in the first round 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 by Spanish River’s Nikita Uberoi.
2A: Jesuit soph still alive at No. 2 singles
Jesuit sophomore Jordan Nasser advanced to the team No. 2 singles final with a pair of straight-sets wins at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.
Nasser, the bracket’s No. 2 seed, won his first match 6-4, 6-2, then prevailed in the semifinals 7-5, 6-2. He will face No. 1 seed Baker Newman of Gulliver Prep on Thursday.
Tigers No. 5 Ryan Walden also won his first-round match 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 over Lake Highland Prep’s Clayton Lemasters.
Jesuit dropped both first-round matches in doubles, including a three-set defeat at No. 1.
“I don’t think we played our best by any means but we played okay,” Jesuit coach Joe Curtis said. “The draw we had was very difficult.
“We were going to have a special day to advance a lot of players and except for Jordan, we had an okay day. This year we might have actually overachieved a bit.”
2A: Steinbrenner pair in quarterfinals
The Steinbrenner doubles team of Grace Korta and Kaleigh Wagner won their first-round individual doubles match, beating Sarah Vande Berg and Sydney Owens from Zephyrhills 6-0, 6-0.
The pair will play their quarterfinal Thursday at 10:30 at Red Bug Park against the top-seeded team from Pine Crest.
Korta, also playing at individual singles, advanced to the semifinals before falling 6-1, 6-0 to No. 1 seed Lindsay Graff of Pine Crest.
The Steinbrenner freshman received a bye into the quarterfinals, where she defeated Vande Berg 6-1, 6-7 (7-5), 6-0.