CRYSTAL RIVER — It was clear early at the Class 2A, District 5 tennis tournament that it would be a Sharks and Pirates party. Twelve teams (seven girls and five boys) converged Tuesday for the final rounds of the two-day event but the Crystal River girls and Nature Coast boys were the elite of the field.
Both squads faced little resistance as they cruised to easy team wins, capturing four of five singles titles. The only place that both teams did not win was at No. 5 singles.
"We had a real strong showing this week," Nature Coast coach Tom Brown said. "Our top four players are all pretty much interchangeable and that gives us a lot of depth and strength. Now it's on to region and hopefully state where we want to try and win a couple of matches at the state level."
The Sharks earned 21 points with Crystal River second with just seven. On the girls side the Pirates scored 18 points and Nature Coast (11) edged Belleview (9) for second. The Nature Coast boys host the District 6 runnerup on Tuesday in the Region 3 semifinals.
On the girls end Crystal River will host the District 6 runnerup and Nature Coast will travel.
The day's most entertaining match was in No. 1 boys singles between Nature Coast's Tyler Schwefinghaus and Crystal River's Brandon Papp. Schwefinghaus dropped the first set 7-5 before rallying in the final two 6-4, 6-4, to clinch the district title. Schwefinghaus also earned an automatic berth to the Class 2A state tournament in two weeks. And in No. 1 doubles he joined playing partner David Cross to defeat Papp and Tyler Swanson 6-4, 6-2.
Also earning automatic state berths on the girls' side were Crystal River's Kristin Tringali and her doubles partner Rita Kerola. Tringali defeated Belleview's Becky DeJiulio (6-1, 6-3) in singles to advance as an individual and Tringali and Kerola defeated Belleview (6-1, 6-1) to reach state as a No. 1 doubles team.