ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — Of all the times for a calf strain, this week was probably the worst for Wiregrass Ranch sophomore Star Makarome.
She tweaked her right calf during a practice, the sort of injury that probably wouldn’t have cost her a match during any part of the regular season.
But in the Class 4A state semifinal round Thursday, it was just enough to slow Makarome down in a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Dr. Phillips’ Alizee Michaud.
The No. 1-seeded Makarome, who hadn’t lost a match all season, looked out of sorts from the start and Michaud seized an opportunity to advance to the championship. Michaud went on to win the state title.
“Today was her day,” said Makarome, the runnerup last year. “She was really able to pressure my serve. But these things happen.”
Wiregrass Ranch’s boys couldn’t overcome a rough first day and settled for a tie with Spanish River for fourth as a team, seven points behind champion Cypress Bay.
Four of the Bulls’ five singles players lost to eventual state champions. Both doubles teams lost in Thursday’s semifinals.
The top tandem of Courage Okungbowa and Agie Moreno lost 6-1, 6-4 to Coral Gables, while Foresight Okungbowa and Alejandro Feliciano lost 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 to the same school.
Wiregrass Ranch only graduates one of its top six players — Courage Okungbowa, Pasco County’s top singles player and a FAMU recruit. The team’s core consists of sophomores and freshmen who learned from playing at the state’s top level.
“I think they realized, it’s another step up,” Wiregrass coach Dave Wilson said. “We’re gonna go in a little more prepared. I think they took that as a great experience. We’re not too far off from being able to compete for a state title.”
In Class 2A, Pasco’s Austin Riddaugh and Josh Wilson lost their only match 6-0, 6-1 to Jacksonville Bolles in the doubles semifinals.
“To be successful at that level, you’ve got to have it all together,” Riddaugh said. “We didn’t have it quite all together today. It was definitely a great experience, just being there with my coach and Josh. Just taking it all in.”
Joel Anderson and Matt Baker, Times staff writers