Barrington rolls to sectional title at Cary-Grove
The hits just keep on coming for Barrington's boys tennis team.
One week after winning the Mid-Suburban League trophy, the Broncos were at it again, this time holding off Prairie Ridge on Saturday afternoon to win top honors at the Cary-Grove sectional for the first time since 2011.
Barrington senior Ishaan Jaglan was at his best once again, topping three opponents on Saturday, including junior Hayden Dzurisin to win the big prize at singles. The Broncos' Zach Hennefent/Vijay Tripuraneni topped their teammates Scott Apmann/Matt Mulligan for top double honors.
"Winning a sectional title is a very important thing for me, but so are my teammates, and to win the team championship here is equally important because five of the six guys here are seniors," said Jaglan (24-6), who will likely receive a 17-32 state tournament seed.
"What you saw from Ishaan this weekend is what we've come to expect from our No. 1," said Barrington coach John Roncone, whose team finished with 34 points to best Prairie Ridge (26). "Obviously I am very proud of him today, as I am of this entire team, which rose above a very good field to win it all and hopefully keep us going in a positive direction next week at the state tournament."
The host Trojans managed to advance Kevin Budreck/Mitch Kedzior, who fought off the Prairie Ridge team of Andy Park/James Lasak 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in its state-qualifying matchup. The senior duo later fell to Fox Valley champions Gil Anozie/Jared Priesz of Prairie Ridge in three sets in the third-place match.
Sophomore Mohammed Waji (24-5) joined the rest of his Broncos teammates in qualifying for state, giving Roncone a full complement in action next weekend.
"When we won our last sectional title, it was on the strength of our doubles teams, as we didn't qualify anyone at singles that year," said Roncone. "This time around it's been a total team effort, and I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful bunch of guys this spring."
at Schaumburg: A lot of first-timers headline the final story here, including Streamwood sophomore Chris Veltkamp as well as Elgin's Josh Hegel/Andy Chai. They proved unstoppable in earning not only their first trip to the state tournament, but also sectional championship rings following superb performances.
Dave Koleno's club from Conant edged Elgin 23-20 in the team race, while Dundee-Crown (16), with qualifiers at both singles and doubles, earned a third-place finish.
"One of our goals from the very beginning was to win a sectional title, and to get as many guys as we could through," said Koleno, "and I can honestly say, 'Mission accomplished.' "
Veltkamp (26-5) impressed throughout, finishing with a win over Elk Grove sophomore Markos Christoforou (12-7), who retired in the second set after dropping the first set 7-5, 3-0.
"Chris dominated all weekend long, and he proved he's not only a special player, but also a special young man, which all of us around the program already knew," said Streamwood coach Jeff Szukala.
"It's an amazing feeling to be heading to the tournament, and to see how far I've come since last season makes it all the more rewarding for me," said Veltkamp, whose sectional crown is the first for the Sabres' program since Yuko Tsukida won in 2009.
Christoforou is the first state qualifier for Elk Grove since 2006 (William Lopez), while Hoffman Estates freshman Daniel Lee is in for coach Greg Rouse. Lee is Hoffman's first state qualifier since Dmitriy Kagan in 2004.
The Hegel/Chai team got a surprise earlier in the week when their overall record was announced at a postseason get-together. Since then, the Maroons' duo has been flawless.
"Both of us looked at each other -- like, what? -- when they said we were 17-5 heading into sectionals, so we then figured we were doing pretty well thus far," said Chai, a junior.
Hegel/Chai made an early statement of intent by beating both St. Charles East and North during the regular season.
"That's when we thought we could do something at the end of the year, and I guess we did," said Hegel, who will attend Elgin Community College next fall.
The Maroons tandem upended the top seed from Conant, Matt Meyers/Glenn Huang, in the semifinals, then beat the Cougars' No. 2 team of Nico Rosas/Nikhil Modak 7-5, 7-5 in the final.
"Even though we were just put together before sectionals, we're getting better and better each time out, so that's good heading into the state tournament," said Rosas a freshman.
Senior Drew Rangel will join his teammates from Dundee-Crown, Nicklas Nelson/Chad Wagner on the state trip after each finished fourth overall.
at Stevenson: Stevenson's strength at doubles offset the dynamic singles duo of senior Ben VanDixhorn and sophomore Stefano Tsorotiotis to give the Pats a 31-28 victory at the Vernon Hills Athletic Complex.
VanDixhorn (24-2) and Tsorotiotis (9-1) finished 1-2 at singles.
Stevenson coach Tom Stanhope's two doubles teams, along with key points from third- and fourth-place singles finishers Colin Harvey and Brian Weisberg, were enough to hold off the Wildcats, who also received a fourth-place medal from the team of Michael Gasick-Julian Janczak. They earned their first state appearance, despite falling to Carmel's Michael Butler/Kevin Hunt in the third-place match.
"Things were a little close there for awhile, but Ben (Bush) and Josh (Cheng) really came through for us when we needed them to," said Stanhope. "When they play like they did today, they show how good a team they can be for us."
The Patriots qualified all four entrants to the state tournament and hope to challenge for a top-five finish.
"This is all pretty exciting," said Cheng, who earned his first state trip. It's a third for Bush, a junior who'd previously advanced in singles.
"I feel like we turned the corner at the Pitchford," Bush said. "It was then we showed we could play with some of the best, and we haven't really let up since then."
The Patriots' No. 2 team was in trouble on Saturday morning, falling behind against East Suburban Catholic Conference champ Butler/Hunt 6-4, before firing back with 6-0, 6-1 wins. That earned Bush/Cheng a spot in the finals against teammates Matt Harvey/Adam Maryniuk (23-8), who took three sets to capture top honors.
"It's always so quiet out here on Saturday morning," said Stanhope. "Everyone is just sitting back and just watching. But Ben and Josh created their own energy and noise with some terrific tennis, and it helped carry them past a very good Carmel team and into the finals."
Hunt, who will play next fall at Rochester College, will be making his second state appearance after advancing last spring in singles. Butler, off to Miami of Ohio, qualified for the first time in his four years at Carmel.
"I am especially happy for Michael to get to the state tournament," said Hunt. "It's been a great four years here, and now to have him with me is the best thing."
Last year, Hunt had a good look up close at Tsorotiotis in the semifinals. This time around, the Wildcats' super soph had to top Colin Harvey 6-3, 6-1 on Friday to book his place opposite VanDixhorn in the final.
The Northwestern-bound VanDixhorn dropped the opening set, 6-7 (5), then found his groove in a 6-1 victory before Tsorotiotis retired.
"I didn't eat right and drink enough, and the combination made me feel a little out of sorts, so it was just best to call it a day, take it easy, and get back at it tomorrow in advance of the state tournament," said Tsorotiotis.
"The field at singles is so much better than last year, but I still feel like I deserve a 5-8 seed," said VanDixhorn, a two-time sectional singles champ. "But it doesn't really matter, because you have to beat good people to advance, and I feel I am right where I need to be right now."
at Huntley: Jacobs junior Kailash Panchapakesan is headed back to the state tournament after a sparkling performance at the Huntley sectional, where the Golden Eagles' top player bagged a sectional title after holding off Anderson Park of Belvidere North 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 for the singles title.
That victory inspired a team championship for coach Jon Betts' club. Jacobs outscored Belvidere North 32-24, while Huntley was third at 15 points.
Last season, the Golden Eagles won their first-ever sectional crown.
While Panchapakesan is the lone singles player from the area to advance, three doubles teams will make the trip.
Jacobs junior Kendrick Chong and freshman Kerwin Chong advanced after a victory over their top-seeded teammates, senior Matt Toomire and junior junior Riley Rowan, 7-5, 7-5.
Huntley junior Jake Grabner, who was a state qualifier last year with Matt Frederick, will have a new doubles partner this time around in Riley Michel. Grabner/Michel defeated Belvidere North's Matt Stiles/Josh Cassaro 6-2, 6-2 in the third-place doubles match.
at Deerfield: In the aftermath of Friday's dramatics at the Warriors' venue, things proved much more relaxed and calm under sunny skies when this high-profile sectional came to a close.
Despite falling short in its bid to send all six players into the state fray next weekend, Glenbrook North, on the strength of titles from Mark Wu at singles and at doubles from the top rated team of Miguel Perez/David Zakohodin (26-0), beat rival Highland Park 28-23 to garner first-place honors.
Tourney host Deerfield was third overall (19), with Glenbrook South (12) and Rolling Meadows (10) rounding out the top five.
After an exhausting state-qualifying win on Friday, Rolling Meadows junior Mack Galvin answered the bell early Saturday morning in his semifinal with Wu despite having suffered an ankle injury Friday.
After dropping his first set 6-1 to Wu, Galvin (30-3) retired in the second set, trailing 2-0.
"It's still heartbreaking one day later, knowing that only one of those two great players won't be playing next week at the state tournament," said Highland Park coach Steve Rudman, referring to his Nick Zazove and Galvin. "That match between Mack and Nick was a classic -- it was like watching the round of 16 at state. It's just not fair that so many talented kids from this sectional will be on the sidelines this Thursday."