TAMPA — Paced by victories in four of the five girls singles finals and No. 1 doubles, Chamberlain won the Class 3A, District 9 tournament at Hunter's Green Country Club on Tuesday.
Wharton earned a narrow win against Plant in the boys tournament behind victories in the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles.
Undefeated senior Jamie Mera led the way for Chamberlain, defeating Freedom's Bridget McKenna 6-1, 6-1 in No. 1 singles. The victory qualified Mera for the state tournament in Orlando on April 23-24. Mera finished second in the state last year.
Plant's Joel Samaha won the boys No. 1 singles against Wharton's Michael Alford, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Chamberlain and Wharton will host region semifinal tournaments next Tuesday against the District 10 runnersup. Second-place finishers advanced to regionals for the first time in tennis, meaning Plant's girls and boys will travel to Lakeland to face the District 10 boys and girls winner Tuesday.
Six of the seven finals matches pitted Chamberlain vs. Plant.
"It was by no means a foregone conclusion we were going to win because in the regular season we only beat them (Plant) 4-3, and they were only one point behind entering today," fifth-year Chamberlain coach Mike Zanatian said.
Zanatian didn't want to look past regionals, but he's optimistic the Chiefs can break through at state after finishing second the past two seasons.
"We have more depth this year at the 3 and 4 (singles) positions, so we're hoping this can be our year," he said.
Wharton's boys entered the tournament undefeated but were pushed to the brink before defeating Plant.
"We got a big lift from our No. 2 (Mitch Wong) and No. 4 (Rohit Navelkar) winning, and both our doubles teams, so it took everyone pitching in," coach Marcie Scholl said.
For Samaha, the victory was redemption after a loss in the district finals last year kept him from qualifying for state. He has been part of a doubles championship at state, but the closest he came in singles was as a freshman when he lost in the semifinals.
At Sarasota, all county teams and individuals failed to advance. Sarasota won the boys title with 20 points. East Bay and Plant City tied for third with four.
In the girls standings, Sarasota Riverview (19) won and Sarasota (15) was the runnerup. Durant (1) placed fourth.
at Hunter's Green CC
Team scores: Chamberlain 19, Plant 14, Freedom 6, Hillsborough 4, Wharton 3, Leto 2, Jefferson 1
Individuals: No. 1 J. Mera (Ch) def. McKenna (Plant), 6-1, 6-1; No. 2 Miller (Ch) def. LaPuente (Plant), 6-1, 6-4; No. 3 N. Mera (Ch) def. Fraley (Plant), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; No. 4 Nolan (Plant) def. O'Brien (Ch), 6-4, 6-1; No. 5 Fisher (Ch) def. Hurst (Plant) 6-1, 6-4. Doubles: No. 1 Mera/Miller (Ch) def. Kleiner/Chheda (Hil) 6-0, 6-2; No. 2 Fraley/Nolan (Plant) def. N. Mera/O'Brien (Ch) 6-4, 6-4
Team scores: Wharton 16, Plant 14, Hillsborough 7, Freedom 5, Leto 3, Chamberlain 2, Jefferson 1
Individuals: No. 1 Samaha (Plant) def. Alford (Wh), 3-6, 6-2, 6-2; No. 2 Wong (Wh) def. Mendoza (Hil), 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Kowalski (Hil) def. D'Adamo (Plant), 7-5, 3-6, 6-2; No. 4 Navelkar (Wh) def. Oslason (Plant), 6-0, 6-0; No. 5 Martin (Plant) by default over Fuller (Wh). Doubles: No. 1 Alford/Navelkar (Wh) def. Samaha/Tozier (Plant) 6-1, 6-4; No. 2 Wong/A. Bartholomew (Wh) def. Mendoza/Kowalski (Hil) 6-1, 6-2