Trailing three games in the first set of the No. 1 singles championship against Strawberry Crest’s Vishnu Kulkarni at the Class 4A-District 6 tournament at Lakeland Jenkins on Wednesday, Newsome senior Garrett Watson mounted a furious comeback to win 7-5, giving him enough momentum to win the second set and championship, 6-0.
The win secured Watson a spot in the 4A state individual singles tournament, his first trip to state, while helping the Wolves advance to the region playoffs as a team with a district runner-up finish.
Host Jenkins won the championship with 17 points, five more than Newsome, after placing a player in each bracket final except No.1 singles.
Along with Watson, Jacob Fullerton was also a district champion for Newsome, winning the No. 5 singles bracket, 6-3, 6-3. John Masselink nearly became Newsome’s third district champion, but fell in the No. 4 single final, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0.
First-year coach Allen Ware said each player won a match to earn at least one point at the tournament.
Strawberry Crest tied for third with Ridge Community with seven points while Plant City finished fifth with five points.
2A-9: Jesuit claims crown
For the 25th time in 26 years, Jesuit won a district title, this time in Class 2A-District 9 at Auburndale.
The Tigers, in fact, dropped only two sets in the two-day tournament, and compiled a 21-0 match record.
In Wednesday’s singles finals, the Tigers’ No. 1, Palmer Evans, won 2-6, 6-3, 10-5 (super set tiebreaker); No. 2 Max Azzarelli won 6-1, 6-3: No. 3 Alex Crosby won 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Gantt Meredith won 6-1, 6-0; and No. 5 Dean Lontoc won 6-0, 6-3.
In No. 1 doubles, Tigers Evans and Azzarelli won 6-1, 2-6, 10-3, and the No. 2 doubles team of Crosby and Meredith won 6-1, 6-0.
“I would say we’re coming together at the right time,” Jesuit coach Joe Curtis said. “Our goal this year is to return to the state tournament and then see what happens. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself either because we have some work left to do next week (in regionals).”
2A-8: Fivay earns title
NEW PORT RICHEY — Fivay came into the 2A-District 8 tournament as the No. 1 seed, but was unfamiliar with Pinellas County foes Tarpon Springs and Dunedin. However, the Falcons were still able to claim the district title.
“I think my boys played really well.” Pollock said. “We knew coming in, that we had success against the Pasco county schools in our district, so we felt good about that, but we had no idea about the Pinellas schools because we hadn’t played them and had no common opponents with them.”
Pollock’s Falcons were led by their three district champions, Michael O’Hara, Luke Theede, and Kevin Milner. Theede and Milner also were the doubles champions.
Fivay will host Pasco next week in the regions. The runner-up will be determined today as Gulf, Hudson and Dunedin tied for second place. They will face off in a tiebreaker at River Ridge in a round-robin format with all seven divisions playing two matches.