A pair of Seminole players followed up their team's championship with more success on Wednesday.
Junior Lori Grey defeated Naples Lely's Sarah Witten 6-4, 6-2 to be crowned 5A's true No. 1 singles champion. Witten won the individual draw earlier in the day.
Grey and Lauren Scaglione also won the No. 1 doubles championship over the team from William T. Dwyer. Boca Ciega's team of Tiffanie Kalvoda and Tomeka Collins lost 6-2, 6-3 to the Dwyer team in the individual draw finals.
Palm Harbor University coach Irene Tharin was expecting to find top-notch competition as she took her team to state for the first time. She knew state-ranked players would abound.
But, "I wasn't expecting one team to have all ranked players," she said.
Indeed, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons brought about as formidable a team as could be imagined to the tournament. It leads after the first day with 12 points, while PHU is tied for fifth with two points.
Orlando Bishop Moore trails the leader by just a point, and the two schools will battle it out today for the title. Teams like PHU will have to win the small battles and take advantage of potential learning experiences.
The Hurricanes still are in contention for a title at No. 1 doubles. The team of Carla Wrassmann and Brenda Corace play Cardinal Gibbons' tandem in the semifinals.
But perhaps the most positive apect of PHU's initial foray into state competition is that it did so without a senior on its roster. Next year things could be a little different.
"Just getting out there and competing with that (high) caliber of players is a great experience," Tharin said.
_ CHRIS ROTAR
GAINESVILLE _ In the Class 3A individual state competition this week, the name McCain kept popping up.
Canterbury's Daniel McCain captured the individuals singles portion of the tournament with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Hollywood Chaminade's Tony Mule.
In the new Florida High School Activities Association format that pits the individual singles champion against the team singles champion to create the ultimate state champion in No. 1 singles for 3A, McCain took the state title by default when Miami Ransom Everglades' David Martin decided not to stay for today's match.
McCain, a senior, was accompanied to the state tournament by his freshman sister Kelly and his father _ and coach _ Dave. Daniel was ranked 21st in the nation when he finished juniors competition last December, and is fifth in Florida. He also won the Illinois state championship as a freshman.
Kelly has a tennis resume as long as Daniel's. She is ranked third in the country and first in Florida in her age group. She will spend up to four weeks this summer touring Europe to improve her play. She also teamed with Janet Walker last year to win the individual doubles title as an eighth-grader.
Both McCains have won the prestigious Gold Ball for their tennis excellence.
Kelly McCain lost in the singles championship to Miami Archbishop Curley's Tamara Sutton 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, while she and McCain's doubles partner Kristin Rannala lost to Boca Raton Pope John Paul's Marcy Hora and Jen Walsh 6-4, 6-3.
Sutton is one of the few players to ever beat Kelly. The senior had some problems with her serve in the early stages of the match but overcame it to knock off Kelly.
"Toward the end, she got better I guess," Kelly McCain said. "If I had played a little better, I probably would have won. The seeds all have national rankings here."
Daniel McCain and Kyle Nelson won their semifinal individual doubles match and face Gainesville Oak Hall's Daniel Friedman and Brendan Cline today at 8 a.m.
_ BRIAN MCLAUGHLIN