Saturday, February 24, 2018
Sports

District tennis contenders

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
Plant City wins first soccer championship in dramatic fashion

Plant City wins first soccer championship in dramatic fashion

DELAND — As Plant City players lined up for their Class 5A state championship medals after an exhausting 2-1 (3-2 in penalty kicks) win over Miami Beach Saturday afternoon, the reality hit them. They had to dye their hair blond.The Raiders made...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Distance Classic journal: Feeling the burn at 81

Distance Classic journal: Feeling the burn at 81

TAMPA — Bill Riley is still at it, which is amazing because he's 81.A very, very fast 81.Riley, for instance, ran Saturday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K in 26 minutes, 19 seconds, more than 10 minutes ahead of his next age group compe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
USF honors seniors, watches them shine in win against Cincy

USF honors seniors, watches them shine in win against Cincy

What began as an emotional senior night segued into a methodical senior showcase for the 18th-ranked USF women Saturday.Six-foot Denmark native Maria Jespersen notched her 17th double-double of the season (26 points, 16 rebounds) while fellow senior ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
What Lightning would be getting in Erik Karlsson

What Lightning would be getting in Erik Karlsson

MONTREAL – We don't know yet if the Lightning will be able to land Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson by Monday's trade deadline.There's a chance, with Tampa Bay having enough interest – and high-level prospects – to make t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Inside the Raysí plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

Inside the Raysí plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays know tanking."We tanked in 2006 and '07, if you want to call it that," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "We were the original tankers. Or tankees. It seems to be all the fad now."In losing 101 and 96 games in the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

FORT MYERS – Just playing on back-to-back days was significant for Rays 3B Matt Duffy.Playing well has made the start of spring training even better."Really liked the way Duffy has continued to play," manager Kevin Cash said after a 4-3 loss to...
Updated: 2 hours ago
That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Raysí plan

That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Raysí plan

Jonathan ErlichmanFor a moment Friday, it looked as if a young businessman, accountant or computer guy had won one of those charity auctions to spend a game in uniform in the Rays dugout.Actually, it was Rays analytics director Jonathan Erlichman, a ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Practice makes perfect for Gasparilla 5K champions

Practice makes perfect for Gasparilla 5K champions

TAMPA — The only other time Taylor McDowell ran the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K, he came in 10th place. So as this year's event neared, the Tampa resident created a training plan, and he stuck to it.McDowell, who competed in cross cou...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Updated: 5 hours ago