ROCKY RIVER — While Rocky River used three individual champions to win its own boys tennis tournament Saturday, area schools had plenty to be happy about, too.
Amherst junior Cory Habecker had the best individual performance of any area player, going 4-0 at first singles with a combined score of 32-11. However, by the luck of the draw, he was not matched against Rocky River senior Garrett Stefani.
Stefani also went 4-0 with a combined score of 32-4 and was awarded the first singles title based on his seven fewer losses.
While Elyria didn’t have any individuals stand out, its players did just enough to match Fairview with 93 total wins, which was the third-highest total in the six-team field. The Pioneers were awarded third place over the Warriors because they lost three fewer games.
And Oberlin — led by its three girls singles players — showed it could hang with the boys. While the Phoenix finished sixth with 68 wins, Alexandria Walsh (second singles) and Reilly McInerney (third singles) finished third in their respective divisions.
Each player faced four opponents in pro-set matches (first to eight games won). Scores were the combined wins and losses, and team points were awarded based on the total amount of wins.
Habecker was the only area player to crack the top two in any of the five categories. His toughest matches were an 8-6 win over Twinsburg’s Austin Shiahearl and an 8-7 win over Fairview’s Mike DeRosa. He ended his day with an 8-3 win over Elyria’s Jeff Emilio.
“I was a little slow in my first match because I was trying to get used to the cold weather,” Habecker said of the singles matches played at Tri-City Park. Doubles were held at neighboring Morton Park. “But once I found my rhythm, I really took off with my matches.
“We had one match last week against Rocky River, and I won there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to face (Stefani) again. In the offseason, I didn’t play as much as I wanted to. But I came in to this year feeling more confident and I want to continue from the year that I had.”
Habecker led Amherst to 89 victories, which was good for fifth place.
“Our team is very young,” Habecker said. “We have a lot of inexperience on the team, but there is a lot of potential there. We wanted to come out and play our best and see where we fit in. Our No. 3 guy (George McGuire) said he’s feeling more confident each time out, and that’s a good sign.”
Four of the five Elyria players went 2-2 with the best performance coming from Noah Katrinchek at third singles. Katrinchek finished fourth with a 25-19 record.
Emilio, Scott Peggs (second singles) and the team of Chris Kleita and Logan Hopkins (second doubles) also went 2-2 for Elyria.
“The guys won the matches I had expected them to win,” Elyria coach Matt Brinda said. “The conditions here were pretty tough. Most of the guys here were still getting the hang of things, since this is only our second match of the year after limited practice.
“I think this was a nice event to gauge where we’re at before we get into our (Northeast Ohio Conference) matches and the LCAAA Tournament next week. I think, today, everyone on the team held their own and they all did a good job.”
McInerney had the best individual performance for the Phoenix, going 25-15 with a 3-1 performance. She defeated Amherst’s George McGuire 8-1, Fairview’s Ben Winkleman 8-0 and Katrinchek 8-6 in her final match.
“I think I did pretty well,” McInerney said. “I’m a senior, so I’ve been playing for a while, but this was my best performance here. I could have done better, especially in that last match. Both of us were really, really tired. It would be nice to get another chance with everyone at full energy to see how we do.”
Walsh went 2-2 overall with a 25-25 record, finishing just two wins shy of second place.
Oberlin’s freshman first singles player Claudia Olaes withdrew after trailing Emilio 5-2 in her opening match due to the cold and blustery conditions.
Rocky River, which lost the team title to Twinsburg last season based on total losses, gave retiring coach Jeff Sinnema his final tournament championship by just three wins, 142-139, over the Tigers.
“It’s nice because last year we lost because of games given up,” Sinnema said. “This year, the kids responded very well. We had one young man (second singles Brad Pease) retire due to an injury, but the rest of the kids stepped up and won three championships and a second-place finisher. It shows the depth of our squad.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Rocky River 142, 2. Twinsburg 139, 3. Elyria 93, 4. Fairview 93, 5. Amherst 89, 6. Oberlin 68.
(Scores based on combined games won and lost)
FIRST SINGLES: 1. Garrett Stefani (Rocky River) 32-4; 2. Cory Habecker (Amherst)
32-11; 3. Mike DeRosa (Fairview) 19-19; 4. Austin Shiahearl (Twinsburg) 18-32; 5. Jeff Emilio (Elyria) 17-25; 6. Claudia Olaes (Oberlin) 2-29.
SECOND SINGLES: 1. Davna Peketi (Twinsburg) 32-12; 2. Matt Hom (Fairview) 26-24; 3. Alexandria Walsh (Oberlin) 25-25; 4. Scott Peggs (Elyria) 20-21; 5. Jordan Ault (Amherst) 16-24; 6. Brad Pease (Rocky River) 15-25.
THIRD SINGLES: 1. Pouya Jouharian (Twinsburg) 32-10; 2. Conner Jors (Rocky River) 31-11; 3. Reilly McInerney (Oberlin), 25-15; 4. Noah Katrinchek (Elyria) 25-19; 5. George McGuire (Amherst) 6-32; 6. Ben Winkleman (Fairview) 0-32.
FIRST DOUBLES: 1. Mike Ittu-Ryan McDermott (Rocky River), 32-6; 2. Preetham Yarlagadda-Nirmal Kirishman (Twinsburg), 25-12; 3. Alex Hobt-Alex Colon (Fairview), 24-22; 4. Spencer Mowhesky-Jordan Kneisel (Amherst), 21-22; 5. Quinton Orantek-Kyle McNickle (Elyria), 13-32; 6. Noah Frantz-Ryan Fury (Oberlin) 6-32.
SECOND DOUBLES: 1. Christian Knuebel-Brandon Benson (Rocky River), 33-5; 2. Marcus Torres-Anthony Lecore (Twinsburg), 32-9; 3. Jimmy Smith-Evan Yarian (Fairview), 19-25; 4. Chris Kleita-Logan Hopkins (Elyria), 18-22; 5. Robert Montgomery-Jackson Hazelette (Amherst), 14-32; 6. Fayza Rahman-Kristin Sherrod (Oberlin), 10-32.