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Hillsborough: State tennis tournament preview

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR | Special to the Times

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR | Special to the Times

A sister act

Tampa Catholic junior Meghan Sullivan, above, is arguably is the area's most underrated player. But she shouldn't be. As a freshman, she reached the semifinals at state. Now, she's hoping for more. This time, she'll also be joined by her sister, Kelly, a freshman with whom she forms a formidable doubles tandem that could make noise.

Championship push?

How good is the Wharton boys program? Well, this is the ninth straight year the Wildcats have been represented by either a team or an individual at state. Led by Michael Alford at No. 1 and Mitch Wong at No. 2, Wharton has a very good shot to win the team title. Last year, the Wildcats placed second. The year before, they were third. What might take Wharton over the top? Doubles play, where the Wildcats have been dominant.

Mera's mission

Chamberlain senior Jamie Mera, who will play at Missouri after graduating, is a regular at the state tournament — this will be her fourth trip. As a freshman, she was the overall singles runnerup. A much more refined player now, she likely has the ability to bring back a championship. At the very least, she should contend.

Underdogs no more

After placing second at state last season, Chamberlain hoped to make another run this spring. But something happened — the Chiefs ran into upstart Plant. Now, it looks almost certain the Panthers will post at least a top-five finish. Freshman Amber Li, who leads a balanced lineup, has been sensational. Her three-set win over Mera in the region final helped get Plant to state.

The schedule

Class 4A

When: Monday-Wednesday

Where: Sanlando Park and Lake Brantley High, Altamonte Springs

Individuals: Andy Wang (Sickles, singles), Tyler Snook (Alonso, doubles), Mike Broderick (Alonso, doubles).

Class 3A

When: Wednesday-Friday

Where: Sanlando Park & Lake Brantley High, Altamonte Springs

Local teams: Wharton (boys), Plant (girls)

Individuals: Andy Hersh (Newsome, singles, doubles), Jamie Mera (Chamberlain, singles, doubles), Jen Miller (Chamberlain, doubles), Joel Samaha (Plant, singles), Scott Schumaker (Newsome, doubles).

Class 2A

When: Monday-Wednesday

Where: Red Bug Lake Park, Casselberry, and Sylvan Lake Park, Sanford

Individuals: Kelly Sullivan (Tampa Catholic, doubles), Meghan Sullivan (Tampa Catholic, singles, doubles)

Class A

When: Wednesday-Friday

Where: Red Bug Lake Park, Casselberry, and Sylvan Lake Park, Sanford

Local teams: Berkeley Prep (girls)

Individuals: Alex Hallenbeck (Tampa Prep, singles), Zack Bandes (Berkeley Prep, doubles), Kelly Palmer (Tampa Prep, singles, doubles), Brian Shim (Berkeley Prep, doubles), Ellie Walling (Tampa Prep, doubles).

Keith Niebuhr, Times staff writer

Hillsborough: State tennis tournament preview 04/19/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 19, 2008 11:06pm]

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