Brophy Prep had won five Arizona Division I team tennis titles in six years before Desert Mountain High School broke through to win the 2015 team championship, and then managed to hold on to it again last year.
But this year, Brophy is back.
This year’s team title, the Broncos’ 13th since 1985, wasn’t wrapped up until Josh Belgrad and Jack Vanderwey claimed the first doubles win of the state finals at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale. To that point, Brophy and Hamilton High had played to a draw, with both teams winning three singles matches.
But once Brophy got into doubles play, it was soon over.
Vanderwey accounted for one of Brophy’s single wins, while Jack Woodrow and Nick Guest picked up the other two. For Hamilton, it was wins by Fred Wentling, Anuj Shah, and Neil Bhardwaja that evened the score and brought the state title down to doubles play.
Brophy’s No. 2 doubles team of Guest and Doug Postillion gave the Broncos the 4-3 lead, and then Belgrad and Vanderwey, the No. 3 doubles, shut the door with a 8-6 victory that gave Brophy its 5-3 championship win.
But Desert Mountain didn’t leave empty-handed. The Scottsdale school brought home the girls’ team title – and didn’t even need their doubles teams to take the court. The Lions won five straight singles matches against Mesa’s Mountain View High to seal the win.
The win was so dominating that the Lions swept through four of the singles matches without needing to play a third set. It was the No. 2 singles match that went three sets, and in that one Desert Mountain had to dig itself out of an early hole. The Lions’ Josie Frazier lost the first set, 3-6, to Madeline Lamoreaux, but rebounded with a 6-0 surge and then finished with a 6-3 finale.
Desert Mountain’s other four winners included Madi Moore, Hailey Stelse, Sophia Zheng and Esther Gold. All but Moore will return next year for a shot at a repeat title; Stelse and Zheng are freshmen.
This year marks the continuation of an unusual drought for the Xavier College Prep program. That Catholic School in Phoenix has been a dominant force in the sport for a long time. Last year, Mesa’s Mountain View High broke a four-year Xavier run, and now Desert Mountain takes its turn on the top of the pile.
A week earlier at the Paseo Racquet Club, Desert Mountain fans were on hand to watch senior Cameron Krimbill play for the boys’ state singles title. But it was Shadow Ridge High School that will have bragging rights the rest of the year, as Carlos Hassey claimed the D-I title with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
The senior weathered a see-saw match that kept changing momentum between the two players to claim his second state title before moving on next year to begin his college career at University of Arizona.
In the girls’ championship match, there was far less drama as Liza Isayev took just two short sets to secure the title. The sophomore from Scottsdale’s Horizon High School defeated Lindsey Pesqueira from Tucson’s Rincon High, 6-0, 6-1.