TAMPA — With Berkeley Prep having wrapped up the boys team title during the Class A, District 7 tournament at Hillsborough Community College, the last bit of drama revolved around the battle for second place.
Clearwater Central Catholic needed a victory from its No. 1 doubles tandem of Parker Hayslett and Tyler Berning to force a head-to-head team tiebreaker with Tampa Prep on Saturday.
The Terrapins’ Nicolas de Quesada and Danny Palmer made sure the extra day of tennis wouldn’t be required.
Palmer and de Quesada rallied from a set down to win 4-6, 6-4, 10-8, earning an automatic berth to the state tournament and locking up second place for Tampa Prep (20 points).
“When (Palmer and de Quesada) started the year together, they weren’t very good, but the boys kept on gaining ground,” Tampa Prep coach Chris Cary said. “They’re getting better every time they go out.”
Berkeley Prep, buoyed by depth, won the team title with 23 points. In matchups with Tampa Prep at Nos. 3, 4 and 5 singles, the Buccaneers won all three. Connor Cedro (No. 3) dispatched Dawson Ladd 6-1, 6-1; Ivan von Greiff (4) held off Jonothan Maya 6-2, 3-6, 10-2 and Jake Sokol (5) rallied past Rajiv Kartham 1-6, 7-5, 10-8. Cedro and von Greiff were champions at No. 2 doubles as well.
The district title is Berkeley Prep’s first since 2010.
At the top singles position, Hayslett, powered by a strong serve, defeated Berkeley Prep’s Gray Aloian 6-4, 6-3.
Palmer was the Terrapins’ lone champion, defeating Berning 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 singles.
In the girls competition, Tampa Prep (25 points) defeated CCC (20) in the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 singles finals for its first team title since 2008. Izabelle Baskette (No. 2) beat Yang Chen 3-6, 6-2, 10-8; Yasmine Hamzah (3) was a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Chen Yang and Meaghan DaSilva (4) defeated Delaney Abood 6-2, 6-4. Baskette teamed with Paige Leavy to beat CCC’s Chen and Isabella Dohse 6-0, 6-2 and win at No. 1 doubles.
Academy at the Lakes freshman Cheyenne Lilienthal rallied from a set down and a 2-0 deficit in the second set to defeat Leavy 3-6, 6-2, 10-5 in the No. 1 singles final and earn a spot in the state field.
“I just tried to keep pushing on her and be more aggressive by coming forward,” Lilienthal said. “That put pressure on her and let her know that I wasn’t just going to let her have it.”
Berkeley Prep’s Maddie James defeated CCC’s Bella Collares-Williams 6-4, 7-5 at No. 5 singles.