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District tennis: Wiregrass Ranch, King 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 at Hillsborough Community College, 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, 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.

Class 3A-8: King took 13 of 14 finals matches to capture both boys and girls team titles a third straight season.

King defeated Hillsborough in six of seven finals in the boys competition. Lions No. 1 Vignesh Bhethanabotla outlasted the Terriers' Jacob Kennard 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 to win the individual title and teamed with Gregory Smith for the doubles title.

Nicholas Miljus (No. 3), Rex Miljus (No. 4) and Juan Ayala (No. 5) were also singles winners for King, and Nicholas Miljus and Rohit Chari were champions at No. 2 doubles.

Second-place Hillsborough (22 points) got its lone title from Phillip Nguyen at No. 2 singles.

King (28 points) swept the girls championship behind Sneha Sathish, a sophomore, who was a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Armwood's Jadelyn Suddeth in the singles championship and paired with Kathy Tian to win the doubles title over McCaley Mezrah and Cathryn Sandborn of Blake. Tian (No. 2), Simone Nicolas (No. 3), Christina Jayaraj (No. 4) and Sheela Ranganathan (No. 5) were singles champions for King while Nicolas and Jayaraj won at No. 2 doubles.

Brandon (14 points) will go to regionals after slipping past Blake (10) for second.

4A-7: Plant claims two

TAMPA — The Plant and Wharton tennis teams followed a seemingly yearly script at Tuesday's Class 4A, District 7 tournament. The Panther girls dominated, while the Plant and Wildcat boys battled it out to the very end. The end result was a Plant sweep.

The three-time defending state champion Panther girls outscored the opposition 150-22 in games to cruise to a perfect score of 20 points, while the Plant boys came back from a set down in the deciding doubles match to get past the Wildcats 15-14 at Hunter's Green.

Wharton, which needed to win both doubles matches for the district chapionship, won at No. 1 behind Sam Chaffin and Alek Crnogorac, who also won Nos. 1 and 2 singles, respectively.

But at No. 2, Plant's Thomas Harmon (the No. 3 singles champ) and Evan Vancavage rallied to clinch the district title, winning 6-7 (6-8), 7-5 and 6-1.

Wharton advances to regionals as runnerup, while Chafin and Crnogorac clinched state berths.

Erica Oosterhout, Gabby Rodriguez, Monica Phipps, Lauren Corcoran and Korina Hernandez swept Nos. 1-5 singles matches in the girls competition for the Panthers. Steinbrenner, which had finalists Grace Korta (No. 1), Maria Mischenko (No. 2) and Kiernan O'Keefe (No. 3), was the runnerup.

John C. Cotey, Times staff writer

District tennis: Wiregrass Ranch, King sweep 04/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 9:53pm]
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