HomeTeam Hot Shots
A spotlight on the Times’ bay area players of the week.
Female Hot Shot: Gabby Rodriguez, So., Plant
Skinny: Even when another state championship looked like a delusion, Rodriguez never gave in to hopelessness and fatigue. Her resilience in the face of long odds helped the Panthers clinch their third straight Class 4A state title. Rodriguez and senior Blair Martin twice overcame first-set losses to win the team No. 1 doubles competition, allowing Plant to complete another dramatic comeback in the state finals. “For us to come in first place,” she said, “it all had to work out perfect.” She was the only member of the Panthers’ state championship team to win a singles title, at No. 3, in the Class 4A team competition. Rodriguez also won the overall doubles competition with Martin, too.
Male Hot Shot: Dan Stefan, Jr., Boca Ciega
Skinny: Stefan won the Class 3A overall individual state championship, defeating Gainesville’s Zachary Goldberg 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs. Stefan is an accomplished junior tournament player who decided to play high school tennis for the first time this season at the urging of his doubles partner, Dustin Green. During the district, region and state tournaments, Stefan did not lose a set to become the first overall individual champion from Pinellas County since 1998.