State champs -- finally.
A year after having their hopes dashed by the eventual winners from Hinsdale Central, Stevenson's Colin Harvey/Andrew Komarov found the promised land after three days of brilliant tennis.
The Patriots duo defeated Lope Adelakun-Chase Hamilton of Hinsdale Central in straight sets at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights on Saturday to net their elusive triumph.
The Patriots (28-3) were at full tilt from the onset of the three-day tournament and never let up on the gas. Harvey/Komarov won all seven matches in straight sets, punctuating their effort with a 6-3, 6-1 decision in the title matchup.
"It's like a dream come true," said Harvey, a junior who has already committed to attend and compete at Michigan State, while his friend is on his way to Case-Western next fall to do the same.
"We lost here in the semis one year ago, and we've told you from time to time that we kind of filed that away up here," continued Harvey, pointing to his head.
"It hasn't been the focus of our season, but as we got closer, it became clearer to us what we wanted," said Komarov. "And today, we got what we wanted."
Komarov/Harvey follow the footsteps of Stevenson's state doubles champs from 2011, David Packowitz/Ross Putterman.
"I am not even sure if David and Ross dominated the field over three days as much as these guys did this time around," said Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope. "They played like men, especially today."
The doubles win helped the Patriots edge Glenbrook North for fifth place with 27 points. Hinsdale Central rolled to its third consecutive title with a dazzling 56 points. Lake Forest was runner-up (41), New Trier (34) was third and Downers Grove South, on the strength of the superb Tony Leto, came in fourth with 29 points.
The big surprise on championship Saturday was the final at singles, where Eddie Grabill (37-2) defeated teammate and defending champ Martin Joyce 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to stun the top seed. Grabill, who won in double last year, is a state champ for a second straight season.
Last year, Grabill and Harold Martin proved to the roadblock for Harvey-Komarov. Grabill/Martin went on to defeat their teammates Alex Hagermoser/Peter Henegan in the final.
"Colin and Andrew came into this tournament not as the favorite after losing to Adelakun-Hamilton (22-1) in the finals of the (32)," said Stanhope. "But today, they just beat physically beat up Central.
"We came in with an idea of what we wanted to do, but after four games in, I told the guys to just go after them instead, and both of them just began to hit as hard as I've seen them to all year -- and they had no answer to the returns and serves those two were hitting."
"It wasn't our best day to be sure," said Hinsdale Central assistant coach Ian Tesmond, "but a lot of that had to do with the way Stevenson was playing."
The Patriots set the tone when they broke three-sport standout Adelakun to open the match, then held throughout until breaking the junior again to take the first set.
The Red Devils were reeling when the Pats opened the second set at 3-0, then took turns holding to make it 4-1 and set up perhaps one of best games of this match.
With Harvey on serve, the Pats revealed one weapon after another, going on to break Adelakun one more time with some brilliant work in close to set up match point.
"From that very first match at Elk Grove, we were tested, but we responded, and I think that's what helped us play better each time out until today, when we were at our very best," said Harvey.
"This has been an incredible four years for me, which began on the JV for me when I was a freshman," Komarov said. "I -- we -- both are fortunate to be in a program like this one, with a great coaching staff, and athletic department, and to be surrounded by so many great teammates who have been right there with us from the very beginning. And for my part, I am really going to miss all of that."
Earlier in the day, Libertyville freshman Stefano Tsorotiotis (30-3) saw his bid to reach the final end against Grabill in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 6-4). Tsorotiotis played just one game against Brice Polender (Lake Forest) before retiring with an injury and taking fourth place.
Tsorotiotis' teammate, junior Ben VanDixhorn fell just short against Leto in the semifinals of the consolation round.
"What a day it was for me," said the Wildcats junior, who still was able to manage a smile after his loss to Leto. "I played a 3½-hour match in the morning at Buffalo Grove and finally beat (Tom) Bickel (of New Trier), then came over here and ran all over the place for nearly three hours with Tony before losing.
"Of course, I would rather have been still playing, but it's been a great tournament and one that I am very proud of."
The combined efforts of the Cats' 1-2punch at singles gave the team 21 overall points, good enough for seventh place in the team race.
St. Charles East senior Jasper Koenen (30-2) finished his superb career for the Saints after falling in straight sets to Peter Tarwid of Lake Forest on Saturday morning in a consolation semifinal at Buffalo Grove.
"The tournament didn't quite go the way I had planned, but I feel like I played as well as I could, and I come away from my final state appearance with a terrific feeling all the way around," said Koenen, a four-time qualifier and 2013 state medalist who's on his way to play at Michigan State in the fall.
• Warren senior John Westerberg was awarded the prestigious Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association's Sportsmanship Award. The Illinois-bound Westerberg, also a two-time all-NSC choice and an IHSA Academic Award winner, became the fourth recepient of this high honor from the Blue Devils program under coach Greg Cohen.
"It was truly a humbling experience when I was told I had won," sadid the two-year varsity star, who last year won 28 matches and followed up this season with state qualification in doubles with Samuel Gudeman. "To be honest, I don't know really what to say. It's such a great honor to receive this award, and to have it come after Samuel and I qualified and won four matches to earn top 48, and to be a part of the great tradition of Warren tennis makes it all truly memorable for me."