TAMPA — Only one of Tuesday's 14 singles finals at the Class 2A, District 9 tournament contained any drama. It also had a trip to the individual state tourney on the line, and Tampa Catholic freshman Nick Yale grabbed it with a 6-1, 6-7, 10-8 defeat of Jesuit's Palmer Evans.
Otherwise Jesuit ruled the boys action, as did Holy Names on the girls side at Hillsborough Community College. AHN did not lose a match during the two-day event for a perfect 21 points. No Jaguar dropped more than two games in a set.
Jesuit No. 1 Max Azzarelli (ankle injury) was limited to doubles, moving Evans into the No. 1 singles role against Yale.
"We expected a tough match there because (Yale) is an excellent player," Jesuit coach Joe Curtis said. "He just doesn't beat himself. Very heady."
Jesuit has only failed to win a district title once in Curtis' two decades-plus as coach. It was the second straight year Evans went to a third-set tiebreaker in the No. 1 final. Last year, Jesuit and AHN did not drop a match en route to the state tournament. The Jaguars and Tigers will host region action next week at HCC.
The Tigers' singles winners, in order from Nos. 2-5, were Jimmy Emslie, Alex Crosby, Gantt Meredith and Gunther Mosesmann, all against opponents from Auburndale which easily secured the runner-up spot and region berth.
AHN No. 1 senior Caroline Lozo lost one game in her two singles matches. Eighth-grader Caitlin Neal won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2, and juniors Olivia Rivas, Grayson Garraty and Maddie Bales had easy times as well. Lakeland McKeel snagged the runner-up spot.
Pasco, Hernando win titles
WESLEY CHAPEL — Pasco's boys won their third title in four years while Hernando's girls gave returning coach Teri Sellers her fifth title overall in Tuesday's Class 2A, District 7 tournament.
For the senior-laden Pirates, it marked the first step in what they hope results in a state berth. Pasco has come up short in the past three region finals.
"If we're ever going to do it, it's going to be now or never," Pasco coach Mickey Wilks said. "Let's hope the fourth time's the charm."
Pasco totaled 17 points, three more than runner-up Nature Coast, on the strength of four victories. No. 1 Josh Morris, No. 2 Christian Yann and No. 3 Brandon Ray won their singles matches while Ray and Harry Edwards won at No. 2 doubles. Edwards also was a finalist in No. 4 singles while Morris and Yann reached the finals in No. 1 doubles.
Morris beat Crystal River's Matt Allen 7-6 (8-6), 6-3; Yann beat Nature Coast's Dakota Willey 7-6 (7-3), 6-1; Ray trumped Crystal River's Ben Epstein 6-3, 7-5; and Ray-Edwards downed Nature Coast's Nick Paiz and Jerry Bianculli 6-3, 6-3.
At No. 4, Nature Coast's Alec Lund beat Edwards 6-2, 6-0. Paiz defeated Crystal River's Andrew Allen 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 at No. 5 singles. At No. 2 doubles, Morris-Yann lost 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to Nature Coast's Willey and Conner Schwefringhaus.
Hernando's girls, who had been district runners-up for the past two seasons, scored 12 points, two more than Crystal River.
"The girls approached me and I'm glad I came back," said Sellers, who returned after an eight-year hiatus. "I'm a winner. I love to win."
The Leopards had three wins in five finals. Grace Curren defeated Crystal River's Veronica Williams 7-6 (7-0), 6-2 in No. 1 singles; Karli Kimbraugh topped Kara Champion of Nature Coast 6-0, 6-3 at No. 5 singles; and in No. 1 doubles, Curren and Jada Bergstrom beat Wesley Chapel's Raquel Bailey and Allison Kosloski.
Pasco's Madison Jender beat Bergstrom 7-5, 1-6, 6-0 at No. 2; Crystal River's No. 3 Olivia Parker defeated Central's Jordyn Brunetti 6-0, 6-2; and Nature Coast's Stephanie Hanley beat Crystal River's Shannon Hancock at 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 in No. 4. In No. 2 doubles, Crystal River's Anna Lane and Parker defeated Pasco's Nathalie Sawczuk and Jordyn Bodi 6-4, 6-3.
Class A-9: Shorecrest's Peter Litsky won the No. 1 individual singles championship to automatically advance to the state tournament.
Correspondent Steve Lee contributed to this report.