Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sports

District tennis contenders

RECOMMENDED READING


With district tournaments starting Monday, it looks as if the usual suspects will make a run at the state tournament. But don't count out a few newcomers.

Top contenders

Countryside's boys and East Lake's girls won their PCAC championship matches and take momentum into postseason play.

Countryside (13-0) stopped St. Petersburg's four-year run as the PCAC champion with a solid top three and two undefeated doubles teams.

Senior Jordan Monosky was 12-1 as the No. 1 singles player. No. 2 Aaron Carey, a sophomore, was 13-0, and junior Martin Lukosiunas was 8-0 at No. 3.

The No. 1 doubles team of Monosky and Lukosiunas and the No. 2 team of Carey and Chandler Walker also were undefeated.

St. Petersburg and Countryside will meet again in districts.

The Green Devils have a highly competitive top five of Carl Callauer, John Johnson, Devan Upadhyay, Dan Segundo and Vikas Molleti.

Then there is East Lake's girls. Angel Deng, last year's Times Player of the Year, is back at No. 1 singles. Kimberly Herrock, Rehaana Butt, Elizabeth Maher and Meredith Aebersold round out a strong top five.

East Lake advanced to regions last season and looks poised to do so again.

Dark horses

Dixie Hollins has vastly improved. The Rebels were unable to field a team when coach Rob Romain took over three years ago, but the squad has grown to 16 girls and nine boys. The girls, who won only one match last season, are 11-3, the boys 9-5.

Sophomore Zoe Basheska is the top girls player and teams with Patsy Eichman to form a competitive doubles team.

The Rebels have a chance to make some noise in a tough 3A-10 district that includes Osceola, Sarasota and Venice. Romain credits hard work and volunteer coach Bobby Musengva for turning the program around.

"I know three years ago the kids were laughed at for playing tennis at Dixie," Romain said. "Now we have students come out and watch us play."

Pinellas Park's girls had one of their best seasons ever. The Pat­riots (12-2) won the south division of the PCAC. To get to the championship match, they had to defeat nemesis St. Petersburg.

The Patriots are led by top player Ana Olsen and No. 2 Thanatchaporn Srichaphan, who also are a formidable doubles team.

"We're just a bunch of high school players who work really hard," coach Hollie Miller said. "We don't have the junior circuit players. They just play high school tennis, and they are very dedicated.''

Getting out of 4A-8 will not be easy. The district is loaded with East Lake, Palm Harbor University, Sarasota Riverview, Seminole and St. Petersburg.

Private school power

Speaking of loaded, Clearwater Central Catholic's girls and boys could have a good run. The girls are undefeated (12-0). Sophomore Isabella Dohse has played No. 1 singles for most of the season. Katherine Yang and Delaney Abood also have played well.

Joao Teixiera, Parker Hayslett and Tyler Berning led the boys to a 10-2 record. CCC is in a tough district, A-7, that includes Tampa Prep and Berkeley Prep.

Comments
Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman says it’s another week without Jameis Winston as the Bucs prepare to go to Atlanta, and there’s more on the Bucs’ run-game issues and how the defense has struggled on third and long, a situation most defenses love to be i...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.The Gators need themselves a football coach.They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.Right?Uh, right? (nervous laugh)Well, we’ll soon find out. Maybe this i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Chip Kelly Watch: Comparing Florida and UCLA

Chip Kelly Watch: Comparing Florida and UCLA

We know there's mutual interest between Chip Kelly and the Florida Gators.There might be mutual interest between Kelly and UCLA, too.Let's compare the programsMoneyUF: Jim McElwain's salary was about $4.5 million per yearUCLA: Jim Mora made $3.55 mil...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Name game: What should this year’s UF-FSU rivalry game be called?

Name game: What should this year’s UF-FSU rivalry game be called?

This hasn't exactly been a banner year for Florida and Florida State football. And bowl bids are no certainties for either program. So we could look at this year's rivalry as their de facto bowl game. The Times' college football staff takes a crack a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

The Bucs face the Falcons twice in their final six games, and as they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn has had a nice two-week run.Clayborn had a huge game nine days ago with six sacks in a win aga...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones debunk the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories as he will miss a third consecutive game this weekend in Atlanta.The guys explain that Winston’s absence is purely medical and has nothing to do with the...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingWelterweights: Alexander vs. Castillo7:30 p.m.FS1College basketballMaui Invitational semifinal1:30 p.m.ESPNLegends Classic third-place game3:30 p.m.ESPNUMaui Invitational consolation game4 p.m.ESPN2Legends Classic final6 p.m.ESPN2George Ma...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

TAMPA — RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sunday’s win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his team’s struggles running the ball shouldn’t go squarely on his running back."In my opinion, he is not the reason we’re not mo...
Updated: 4 hours ago