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District tennis: Springstead boys lock 3A-5 title

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Wed. April 2, 2014 | Derek J. LaRiviere

LECANTO — Heat took a toll on the competitors at the Class 3A, District 5 tournament at Lecanto, forcing some players out and forcing the double final to be moved to today, but Springstead clinched its second consecutive boys title anyway.

The Eagles reached the finals in each one of the seven brackets, singles and doubles, and have an insurmountable edge over current runnerup Ocala Forest. The Eagles, who had not won a district title in the school’s 33-year history before last year, advance as a team to the region competition.

Freshman Alex Hoover (17-0) was the lone Eagle to win his individual final, at No. 4 singles.

No. 1 singles competitor Patrick Deslaurier (13-5) conceded his final by injury default because he was dehydrated. During the senior’s semifinal against Lecanto’s Rishi Gumani, the Panther standout was hospitalized because of heat exhaustion and forced to forfeit. Only minutes earlier, Deslaurier needed a 10-minute medical timeout during the third-set tiebreaker.

“The heat was killing us,” Springstead coach Joe Nicolai said. “With the kids playing four matches (in every bracket), the sun was taking its toll.”

Because of time constraints and the heat concerns, the doubles finals will be played at 5 p.m. this evening.

The Springstead girls were eliminated from contention, with only two singles performers advancing past the first round. Senior Robyn Cotney (19-0) took the No. 3 singles crown, while No. 4 singles player Sara Guerrero (10-2) fell in the second round. The doubles tandem of Cotney and junior Scarlett Semack reached the finals before settling for runnerup.

“We’ve played in cold weather for so much of the season,” Springstead coach Rick Scholl said. “Around 11 or 12 o’clock, it got really bad because there were no clouds overhead. It had to be over 100 degrees on the hardcourt.”

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