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Wharton star wins state tennis title, Hillsborough seeks one

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — One day after leading Wharton to a Class 4A team title, Michael Alford added another piece of hardware — a state singles title.

And Hillsborough County might not be done.

Today, the Hillsborough boys will try to pull off an improbable perfect day to capture the 3A title at Sanlando Park. The Terriers are second with eight points, trailing Naples Barron Collier by three.

But Hillsborough's Jackson Murphy (No. 2) and Querubin Mendoza (No. 4) are in finals against Barron Collier, and Murphy and No. 3 finalist Alexander Peckham play Barron Collier in the No. 2 doubles semifinals.

If the Terriers win those four matches and get a little help. …

"Obviously, we knew they were the team to beat," Peckham said. "If we can take care of business in singles, you never know what can happen."

Peckham and Murphy dropped the first sets of their semifinal matches (Murphy lost 6-0) but rallied to win. No. 1 Brian Kowalski needed three sets to win his first match (before losing his second), and No. 5 Karim Saad was eliminated in three sets in his first-round match.

Coach Charles Roberts said he believes the slew of marathon matches contributed to his No. 1 doubles team of Kowalski and Mendoza losing 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. It was the last match of the day, and it left the Terriers with no margin for error today.

"I think it took its toll," Roberts said. "Brian just ran out of gas."

In his 4A title win over St. Petersburg's Ed Corty, Alford was just as dominant as when they met last week in the regional.

The Florida-bound Wildcat rolled to a 6-1, 6-2, giving him his second straight championship.

In the 3A individual tournament at Lake Brantley, Chamberlain's Nicole Mera beat Abby Martinez of Winter Haven 6-3, 6-0 and Jesenia Bruno of Orlando Edgewater 6-0, 6-0.

She'll have to get by Northeast's Danielle Collins, the No. 1-ranked junior in the country, today in the semifinals.

Mera and McKenzie O'Brien also won in doubles, beating St. Augustine 6-0, 6-0.

Wharton star wins state tennis title, Hillsborough seeks one 04/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 29, 2010 1:00am]

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