Boys tennis: Fremd impresses on first day of state tournament
It's good to be a Fremd Vikings tennis fan.
Johnny Kents' men would enjoy a magnificent day of play Thursday afternoon at the boys state tennis tournament. The Vikings set three of their four teams into the quarterfinals Friday including sophomore Shashwat Srivasta (18-4) who stunned 5-8 seed Kareem Alsikafi in his second round contest to advance to play 3-4 seed Alex Kotarski (Hinsdale Central, 22-2) at tourney host Palatine Friday morning.
"We really had a terrific day today," began Kent, whose club won its own sectional a week ago over league rival Hersey, who trail the Vikings and New Trier, who are both chasing tourney leader Hinsdale Central, who collected 24 points on the day.
The Vikings sit in second place with 19 points, and are followed closely by New Trier (18), Barrington (16) and Hersey at 15 points, who share the fifth spot with NSC champion Stevenson.
"Shashwat lost a couple of tough matches early in the season, but he's currently playing some of his best tennis of the season -- witnessed by his 6-4, 7-5(3) win over Alsikafi, who is a very good player," said Kent.
"Jason (Sze) and Amaye (Shyani) themselves lost a lot of early games as well, but I always felt if they went out and played the way they're capable of (that) they could improve on their top 12 finish at state last year," continued Kent.
Sze-Shyani (18-8) the 9-16 seed, will face 3-4 seed Hinsdale Central (Nathan Hernandez-Bodie Teuscher) in their quarterfinal at Palatine Teammate Andrew Spurck (18-1), the No. 1 seed at singles, takes on 5-8 Aiden Lam from Waubonsie Valley.
Junior Mitch Sheldon, anointed the No. 2 seed behind Spurck, will take his 21-1 record into his quarterfinal match against 5-8 Konrad Kwiatkowski (Glenbrook North) as the lone remaining man from Hersey alive in the front draw.
"I felt great today. I was patient, trusted my shots, and I felt like my mindset was were it needed to be for this weekend," said Sheldon, who has played Kwiatkowski in USTA tournaments, and was once a practice partner of the Spartans star.
MSL champion Barrington received an important three-set victory in the third round from Gabe Mills-Shiv Sastry (23-3) who outlasted Stevenson, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-0 to not only send the Broncos duo into the quarterfinals, but also keep their club alive in the race for a team state trophy.
Mills-Sastry will be joined in the front draw by 3-4 seed, Deven Carse (22-3) who rolled past a trio of opponents en route to his quarterfinal on Friday against 9-16 seed Winston Stangle (19-3) from Hinsdale Central.
Ervin Perkowski-Gautham Kappaganthula will carry the Stevenson flag into the quarterfinals after three straight wins on Thursday. The 5-8 seed will now face top seed Chris Ackerman-Stan Okesson (New Trier) at Palatine.
David Motorga was 2-2 in his first tournament appearance for Prospect, while the doubles team from Buffalo Grove (Justin Adrowski-Aproov Sagar Pitta) remains alive in the back-draw after winning three of four matches.
The Maine South duo of Jack Hartung-Giona Maccafeeri were 3-1 also, and will next face rival Glenbrook South (Bryce Abban-Alex Denizov) when play begins at 8 a.m. Friday at the Buffalo Grove site.
Over in 1A play, Vernon Hills will begin the second day of competition in a four-way tie for fourth place with Chicago U-High, Springfield and downstate Triad, all with 12 overall points -- far behind reigning state champion Chicago Latin, who ended its day with the maximum 24 points.
The Cougars, fourth a year ago, would watch its freshmen star Roman Stukov win his first two before falling in straight sets to 5-8 seed Ezra Bernhard from Champaign Central.
Next up for Stukov (25-9), who was a sectional champ last weekend, will be Logan Wasilik from Crystal Lake Central.
Sectional champions Daniel Shchebalev-Aarush Vora (26-5) continued their winning postseason ways with a trio of straight-set victories to send the 5-8 seed Cougars into Friday's quarterfinals against 3-4 Kiyan Alsikafi-Zuhair Alsikafi of Chicago Latin.
Shchebalev, along with his doubles partner Anthony Pomeranets, lost in their consolation semifinal a year ago here.
Wauconda's No. 1 man and sectional champion last weekend at Lakes Community, Sean Lenhart (20-4), would complete a sensational sophomore year with a win in his opener, before dropping a pair of long contests in the back-draw.
Grayslake Central freshman Samay Patel, who was second to Lenhart at sectionals, made a nice first impression by going 2-2 on the day.