Boys tennis: Fremd, Barrington off to fast start as state tourney opens indoors
Fremd and Barrington got off to a quick start on the first day of the boys state tennis tournament, which for the first time in memory was played entirely indoors at several area venues.
Palatine coach Jim Lange, in his first year as tournament director, did a masterful job of locating enough indoor sites to accommodate both the 1A and 2A classes after a decision was made to not fight the potential of all day rain showers.
Second round play on Friday will be back outdoors at the usual designated sites in the area. For further information on the tournament, go to the IHSA tennis website for up-to-minute results.
On Thursday, No. 2 seed Andrew Spurck (22-1) went through easily at Five Star Tennis in Plainfield, as did his freshman teammate, Shashwat Srivasta. Both doubles teams from Fremd were victors to give the Vikings eight points on the day to be level with state powers Hinsdale Central and New Trier.
MSL champion Barrington will have three of its four teams still alive in the front draw when play begins Friday, including the 5-8 duo of Pranav Gadiraju (23-4) and Deven Carse, now 23-2.
"We probably spent more time driving today than actually playing. But we came into the tournament excited and with much more confidence after winning our sectional last weekend at Cary-Grove," said Gadiraju, who will play next fall at Johns Hopkins University. "We had hoped to get all four teams to advance, but our No. 2 doubles team was involved in a tough tiebreaker, which are always a tossup."
"We've been waiting an entire year to get back to state and make a long run for ourselves and the team, who we all feel quite capable of doing," said Ethan Paik, who along with his doubles partner Gabe Mills are 9-16 seeds this weekend.
"If Gabe and I played like we're capable of, we're on track to get to the round of 16. But we'll have a very good team from New Trier in front of us."
The Broncos are currently tied with three other clubs with six points each.
No. 1 Mitch Sheldon and Kacper Pasielak (24-0) were easy straight-set winners, and will open Friday on their home courts at Hersey.
Five-8 seeds Wil Warren and Connor Stelter (Libertyville) traveled to the southside of Chicago in Washington Park at the XS Tennis and Education Foundation to win its lone contest over Lincoln-Way West, 6-1, 6-2, and will now face Anthony Arnieri and Nate Yu of York in Mt. Prospect at 8 a.m.
"Last year, Connor and I were just happy to qualify to state, but this year we're coming in looking to play into the third day, and to go after a state medal," said Warren, who along with Stelter were NSC and sectional champions.
Another 5-8 seed, Jack Belconis and Marco Czosnyka (Maine South, 34-2), won in straight sets to advance to play Jacob Stermin and Milan Miskovic at Fremd High School.
Maine West senior George Ciuca (18-6) won in his first state tournament appearance and now faces 5-8 seed James Albarracin of Whitney Young.
In 1A play, two-time state qualifier Gavin Murrie won in dramatic fashion in a 12-10 tiebreaker, while both doubles teams from Vernon Hills (Aditya Sabharwal-Andrew Tikhonov) and Anthony Pomerants-Daniel Shchebalov) stayed in the front draw after their Thursday victories.
Sabharwal went 3-2 a year ago in singles, while Tikhonov, along with-them partner, Eric Rodriguez were 4-2.
Miles Whelan and Adrian Larrea (18-5) from Carmel Catholic won their first match, 7-6 (2), 6-2, and will now face Aidan Belsley and Blake Shoemaker from Morton at Palatine High School.
"After a long, three-set loss to Jacobs earlier, who are state qualifiers, I knew-then that Miles and Adrian were ready to compete a high level and get themselves to state," said Corsairs coach Gina Borkowski.
Whelan will play at Carthage College next fall, while Larrea came to the Corsairs program from Spain.