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All-Hillsborough County boys tennis

Wharton’s Michael Alford didn’t concentrate all of his efforts on the tennis court until he was 11 years old.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Wharton’s Michael Alford didn’t concentrate all of his efforts on the tennis court until he was 11 years old.

Player of the Year Michael Alford, Jr., Wharton

Wharton's No. 1 player did not lose a match in singles play en route to leading his team to a second straight Class 3A state title. He also earned the No. 1 team and the overall individual singles titles. Alford teamed with Ben Hwang to finish second in No. 1 doubles at state.

Most impressive accomplishment: Alford dropped just one set the entire season, that one in the overall Class 3A singles state final to Fort Myers' Michael Wardell (7-5, 0-6, 6-1).

Did you know? Alford almost stuck with basketball as his No. 1 sport and once played for the highly touted Florida Elite AAU program. Alford began playing tennis at age 7, and really got into it at age 10 when he began to follow Andy Roddick, his father, Rick Alford, said. By age 11, Michael made the permanent switch.

College plans: Alford has one more season, but his college recruitment is expected to pick up in July.

First team

Tyler Snook, Sr., Alonso: Part of the overall Class 4A state title doubles team; also won his first district singles title and reached the 4A quarterfinals in singles.

Andy Hersh, Sr., Newsome: Wolves' top ace reached the Class 3A individual singles semifinals.

Rohit Navelkar, So., Wharton: Back-to-back undefeated seasons, did not lose a set at No. 3 singles; also teamed with Alford at No. 1 doubles.

Ben Hwang, So., Wharton: Did not lose a match all season en route to the Class 3A No. 2 singles title.

Alex Hallenbeck, Sr., Tampa Prep: Won a district title at No. 1 singles and led his team to a second-round region berth in Class A.

Second team

Mike Broderick, Sr., Alonso

Chase Merlin, Sr., Jesuit

Brian Shim, Sr., Berkeley Prep

Zach Bandes, So., Berkeley Prep

Jackson Murphy, Fr., Hillsborough

Honorable mention

Freedom: Ryan Detres

Hillsborough: Jay Mendoza, Brian Kowalski

Newsome: Colin Edwards, Hunter McCampbell, Kyle Staggs

Tampa Prep: Danny Heidenberg

Wharton: Bryant Fuller, Robby Bastian

Coach of the Year Marcie Scholl, Wharton

Led Wharton to another state title. The Wildcats did it by going 11-0 in the regular season, then overcoming a tough defeat to Hillsborough in the district tournament on their home court. Once at state, Wharton won 11 of 13 singles matches, and two of the four doubles.

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer

All-Hillsborough County boys tennis 06/01/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 9:19pm]
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