To no one’s surprise, in high school tennis in Arizona, a select few schools continue to hold court.
At least, in the bottom two divisions of the high school singles and doubles state championships, held over the weekend at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale, the honors were spread around somewhat. But not so in Division I, where the Phoenix tennis powers reside.
Brophy Prep won both the singles and doubles championships on the boys’ side, while Xavier Prep swept the titles on the girls’ side.
Hudson Blake, the top-seeded player from Brophy, got off to a slow start by falling behind 4-1 in the first set of the singles competition. But you might call that a false start, since he went on to defeat James Ponwith, 6-4, 6-4. Ponwith, the No. 2 seed from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, had lost to Blake twice earlier in the season and still didn’t have the answer to Blake’s game.
For Blake, who is a senior headed for Texas Christian next year, it was his first singles state title – and the first for Brophy in 16 years.
In the doubles play, it was David Akin and Michael Cowan that brought home the title for Brophy, winning in three sets over Andrew Dunn and Tyler Linscott from Salpointe Catholic in Tucson.
The Xavier girls not only won both titles, but the singles competition was particularly significant because it presented an opportunity for Madison Clarke to make up for losing the title last year to Courtney Amos from Salpointe, Ironically, her opponent this year was Caroline Amos, the sophomore sister to Courtney, who graduated last year.
Clarke dominated the first set with a 6-0 win, but Amos evened the match with a 6-3 win in the second set. But the apparent changing tides turned out to be an illusion as Clarke came roaring back to take the third and final set, 6-0, for the singles title. The doubles title was never in doubt, since both teams in the finals were from Xavier. Maggie Cohen and Scarlet Rush defeated teammates Emily Serrano and Madison Majerle, 6-1, 6-0, for the victory.
In Division II, the blue ribbons were spread among four schools.
Mike Lee from Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson won the singles title in the boys’ competition by defeating Alex Bose from Tucson’s Ironwood Ridge High in a match that went nearly three hours and ended with an upset by the No. 2 seed, Lee, who outlasted Bose, 6-7, 7-5, 7-6. Sara Brown from Ironwood Ridge blanked Christina Oropeza from Nogales High, 6-0, 6-0, for the girls’ singles title.
In doubles play, the boys’ title went to the Notre Dame Prep team of Luke Carstens and Adrian Cordova, and the Catalina Foothills‘ sister team of Rachana and Kirtana Bhat prevailed for their second consecutive girls’ title.
In Division III, it was business as usual in singles play. Estrella Foothills High junior Max Schell won the boys’ singles title for the second straight year, and Erin Cory, a junior from the same school, claimed her third straight championship. In the doubles competition, this year’s girls’ title went to Allie Scott and Gabrielle Courtney from Pusch Ridge High School and the boys’ championship belongs to Nathan McMaster and Reed Goodman from Thatcher High.