ALTAMONTE SPRINGS -- Wharton's Michael Alford kicked off Wednesday's tennis action by repeating as individual singles champ, and the Hillsborough boys and Wiregrass Ranch girls are off to good starts in the Class 3A team competition at Sanlando Park.
A day after helping Wharton wrap up a third consecutive state championship, the University of Florida-bound Alford defeated St. Petersburg's Ed Corty 6-1, 6-2 in the boys Class 4A singles championship. It was Alford's second straight title, and the results were similar to the players' previous meeting in the region final last week.
Corty had advanced through to the No. 1 singles tournament for district champions whose teams did not advance to state, which then takes it winner and matches him against the No. 1 singles champ from the team competition, which was Alford.
In early action in the 3A team competition, Hillsborough's Nos. 2-4 players -- Jackson Murphy, Alexander Peckham and Querubin Mendoza -- were all straight-set winners. No. 1 Brian Kowalski and No. 5 Karim Saad are still out and fighting for their tennis lives.
The Wiregrass Ranch girls won at Nos. 1 and 2 as Sarah and Elizabeth Means posted easy wins, and No. 3 Hannah Still was a 6-0, 6-1 winner as the trio advanced for the Bulls. Both Means sisters are currently battling Boca Raton Olympic Heights players in vital second matches.
Akilah James was the only Gibbs girl to win and remain alive in the second round, ousting Naples Barron Collier's Lindsay Raymond 6-4, 6-4 in a No. 1 singles match. She is currently up a set against No. 2-seed Katherine Pyne of Lakewood Ranch.