ST. PETERSBURG — Every time Sickles No. 1 tennis player Andy Wang would walk into his school's gym, he would look up and catch a glimpse of the multiple championship banners hanging from the rafters.
Wang, a senior playing his first season with the Gryphons, wondered what his name might look like 40 feet in the air. So, he decided to play this season after spending the previous three years focusing solely on junior tournaments and academics.
"I thought it would be cool if I had (a banner) with my name on it," Wang said.
Consider his lone attempt at Sickles' sports immortality a success.
Wang, who has orally committed to Rice and is ranked No. 168 nationally, came back from a set down to defeat Alonso's Tyler Snook 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 for the singles title in Class 4A-5 and an automatic qualification for the state tournament.
With 13 points, Alonso was the runnerup on the boys side and advances to the regional semifinals. Snook and Mike Broderick teamed up at No. 1 doubles to defeat Ed Corty and Aaron Ellison from St. Petersburg in the finals 6-4, 6-1. Broderick was runnerup at No. 2 singles. Andrew Sine won the No. 4 singles bracket with a 6-4, 6-1 defeat of St. Petersburg's Rob Perry.
The St. Petersburg boys took first with 18 points, and Sickles was third with nine points.
The girls competition was dominated by Pinellas County as St. Petersburg and Palm Harbor University were the only teams to send players to the finals. St. Petersburg took the team competition with 21 points as it won all seven finals. PHU was second with 12 points.
Defending girls champ Alonso (four points) finished third.
Team scores — St. Petersburg 21, Palm Harbor University 12, Alonso 4, Mitchell 3, Countryside 3, Sickles 2, Pinellas Park 2, Gaither 0
Singles — L. Dvorak (SP) d. Southern (PHU) 6-0, 6-0; E. Dvorak (SP) d. Tegtelbaum (PHU) 6-2, 6-0; Beba (SP) d. Zayac (PHU) 6-2, 6-2; Smith (SP) d. Menken (PHU) 6-4, 6-2; Easton (SP) d. Newsome (PHU) 6-1, 6-0; Doubles — L. Dvorak/E. Dvorak (SP) d. Southern/Tegtelbaum (PHU) 6-2, 6-1; Smith/Easton (SP) d. Zayac/Menken (PHU) 6-1, 6-1
Team scores — St. Petersburg 18, Alonso 13, Sickles 9, Palm Harbor University 8, Gaither 2, Pinellas Park 1, Countryside 1
Singles — Wang (Sic) d. Snook (Alo) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4; Corty (SP) d. Broderick (Alo) 6-2, 6-1; Novikov (SP) d. Szeto (PHU) default; Sine (Alo) d. Perry (SP) 6-4, 6-1; Girardi (SP) d. Glomb (PHU) 7-5, 5-7, 7-5; Doubles — Snook/Broderick (Alo) d. Corty/Ellison (SP) 6-4, 6-1; Novikov/Perry (SP) d. Gavine/Glomb (PHU) 6-3, 6-1
A-9: Berkeley Prep, Tampa Prep win titles
The Berkeley Prep boys won 20 of 21 matches to clinch the Class A, District 9 title in Lakeland, and Tampa Prep was the runnerup.
Alex Hallenbeck of Tampa Prep was the No. 1 singles champion, which automatically qualifies him for state. Brian Shim and Zack Bandes claimed the title at No. 1 doubles.
"We kind of dominated," Berkeley Prep coach Gary Baker said.
On the girls side, Tampa Prep won the title, and Terrapin standout Kelly Palmer was the champion at No. 1 singles. At No. 1 doubles, Palmer and Ellie Walling earned a trip to state.
Berkeley Prep and Winter Haven All Saints' tied for second and will have a playoff today to determine who moves on.
Keith Niebuhr, Times staff writer