For some reason, there always seem to be interesting story lines that emerge in high school tennis, particularly in the state tournament. This year was loaded even more than usual.
In Division I… Alex Lawson closed out a career that now includes four state championships. His three-set victory over Nolan Bauer from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale in the title match also gave him his second consecutive Division I singles title.
Lawson, who will be playing for Notre Dame University next year, won back-to-back doubles titles his first two years at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, and then won singles titles last year and this year.
And the story-telling gets even better on the girls side in Division I where Courtney Amos, a senior at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, took out the No. 1-ranked 16-year-old in the USTA Southwest Region to cap her prep career before leaving for Yale.
Amos had to come from behind for the huge upset of Xavier Prep‘s Madison Clarke, the freshman phenom who had lost just one time all year. Amos set Clarke back on her heels in the opening match and then went on to win, 7-5, 3-6, 6-0.
In Division II… the boys’ competition had an unexpected ending. Dominic Patrick from Campo Verde High School in Gilbert won his second straight singles title without even having to finish the championship match.
Patrick easily won the opening set, 6-1, and Jacob Hedderig from Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek evened it with a 7-6 win. But Hedderig developed severe leg cramps in the third set and forced the cancellation, giving Patrick the 4-3 win and the title.
On the girls side, the story line of the day had to be Zaina Sufi’s first singles title win on her third trip to the championship match. She won a doubles title last year, but fell victim in the singles title matches during her freshman and sophomore years.
Sufi, who plays for Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson and was the No. 1 seed, can now understand better what her older sister, Hala, experienced during her prep career when she won four straight singles titles.
Hala’s little sister defeated Aleeza Kanner from Sunnyslope High School, 6-1, 6-3, for the title.
In Division III… Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear swept both the girls and boys titles – and the winners have been friends since early grade school.
Both entered the tournament as No. 1 seeds and were favored to pocket titles this year, but made it appear even easier than expected when each won their title in 6-1, 6-1 sets. Cory, who successfully defended the title she won last year, beat No. 6 seed Kindra Holliday from Miami High, and Schell defeated Phoenix Christian‘s Delaney Harbin, the No. 3 seed.
Team competition began last week and will wrap up with championship matches on Saturday.