Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

District tennis: Nature Coast boys, Pasco girls clinch crowns

CRYSTAL RIVER — For the sixth consecutive season, Nature Coast's boys will be returning to regionals.

And after dethroning Pasco, the Sharks captured their fourth district title in that span. Nature Coast dominated the field Tuesday to take home the Class 2A, District 7 championship 19-14.

Pasco and Nature Coast swept all six district titles with Sharks junior Jesse DeWitt (13-3) capturing the No. 1 singles title. Nature Coast also won at Nos. 2, 4 and 5, with Conner Schwefringhaus (11-3), Alec Lund (10-3) and Charles Buckner (9-2) walking away with the medals, respectively.

"I thought everybody played very well," Nature Coast coach Tom Brown said. "We competed real well, and Pasco did a splendid just pushing us."

The Pirates' singles win came at No. 3 (junior Calvin Yann).

The programs split the doubles titles with the No. 1 duo of Dewitt and Schwefringhaus (9-1) doing the honors for the Sharks, and the No. 2 tandem of Yann and Mark Ray the same for Pasco.

The girls' title was won by Pasco (17 points), the team's fourth straight district crown over Hernando (12). The Pirates were involved in every championship final, coming away with victories at No. 4 singles and both doubles.

"I've been coaching for a little while," Pasco coach Don Charlick said, "and this team has jelled better than any team I've had in the past."

Pirates senior Mady Johnson (16-4) was unable to take home her second straight individual district championship as the team's No. 1. She was defeated in straight sets (6-4, 7-5) by Leopards sophomore Grace Curren (14-1). Curren lost to Johnson in last season's district final.

Pasco's Sara Slayton took the team's lone singles title and teamed with fellow senior Amanda Dee to capture the No. 2 doubles crown. Johnson and junior Shelbie Timlake won at No. 1 doubles.

Senior Katie Viola (11-4) survived a tough No. 2 singles bracket for the Sharks' lone title.

3A-9: Bulls sweep

TAMPA — The pressure was palpable for Freedom senior Jonathan Heidenberg.

Locked in a tight match against Gaither's Stephen Goldman in the No. 1 singles final of the Class 3A, District 9 boys tournament, Heidenberg was playing not only for an automatic berth to state but to send his team into regionals.

After losing the second set, Heidenberg regained his form in the third, holding off Goldman for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win that allowed Freedom to claim the runnerup spot (16 points) ahead of Robinson (15).

"I wasn't thinking about myself," Heidenberg said. "I really wanted to win for the team."

Wiregrass Ranch (23 points) claimed its fifth straight boys team title behind singles victories from Alejandro Feliciano (No. 2 singles) and Sebastian Castillo-Sanchez (No. 3 singles).

Robinson's William Oken (No. 4) and Freedom's Kevin Chow (No. 5) were also singles winners.

Chamberlain's Joseph Fisher and Hunter O'Brien beat the Bulls' Foresight Okungbowa and Feliciano 6-4, 6-4 for the doubles title while the Bulls' Castillo-Sanchez and Keshav Nelavai won at No. 2 doubles.

For the girls, Wiregrass Ranch and Land O'Lakes were tied after Day 1, but the Bulls pulled away Tuesday to win the team title by four points.

Tiffany Garner (No. 2) and Precious Okungbowa (No. 3) won singles titles while Brianna Miah and Garner (No. 1 doubles) and Okungbowa and Marisa Hoffman (No. 2) teamed up for doubles titles.

Runnerup Land O'Lakes (20 points) was led by top singles player Kavya Avancha, who advances to state after a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Miah. The Gators' Anne Schwartz (No. 4) and Joslyn Lafond (No. 5) also won.

Bryan Burns, Times correspondent

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