ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — A few months ago, Wharton had yet to claim a state team championship in any sport. Today, the school will try to earn its second since February.
First, its boys soccer team achieved the feat. Now, the boys tennis squad hopes to follow suit.
After the first of two days at the Class 3A tournament, the Wildcats are alone in first with 10 points. Ponte Vedra Beach Nease and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas are tied for second with eight each. Coincidentally, it was St. Thomas Aquinas that Wharton beat to win its soccer title.
"I like where we're at," Wharton coach Marcie Scholl said.
So does the Plant girls squad.
The Panthers came to the championships as somewhat of an unknown. But after a strong first day, Plant, sparked by the play of Amber Li and Solange La Puente, is in second in the 3A standings, two points behind St. Thomas Aquinas.
"It has been amazing," Plant coach Lynn Vu said. "These girls were excited to be here, but when they got here they wanted to prove they belonged here, that it's not a fluke that they're here."
The Berkeley Prep girls, the only other county team to reach state, claimed two matches Wednesday, but are tied for sixth in the Class A standings. In the individual portion of the event, the following county players are still alive: Andy Hersh (Newsome, singles), Jamie Mera (Chamberlain, singles, doubles), Jen Miller (Chamberlain, doubles) and Joel Samaha (Plant, singles).
Also Wednesday, Sickles standout Andy Wang fell to Brennan Boyajian of Weston Cypress Bay in a match for the overall 4A singles crown, 6-0, 6-0. Wang is ranked No. 160 nationally; Boyajian is No. 9. "He's a really good player and I didn't play that well," Wang said. Also, Alonso's Mike Broderick and Tyler Snook lost in the 4A doubles final to Boyajian and Jeff Morris, 6-3, 6-3.
Wharton, which was second last year and third in 2006, advanced Mitch Wong (No. 2), Rohit Navelkar (No. 4) and Bryant Fuller (No. 5) in singles, and Michael Alford and Navelkar (No. 1) along with Wong and Alex Bartholomew (No. 2) in doubles.