Walsh sends three to state tennis tourney
By Jeff Gorman
CANTON — Walsh Jesuit High School is sending three tennis players to the State Tennis Tournament at The Ohio State University’s Stickney Center in Columbus May 25-26.
Warrior senior Nathan Hobrath finished second in the Division II Canton District Tournament to earn a trip to state. He defeated Brad Lodge of Aurora High School 6-1, 6-3.
Nathan Hobrath then lost in the district finals to A.J. Nelson of Triway High School by a score of 1-6, 7-6, 6-0.
“Nathan beat A.J. in the sectionals, and A.J. wanted to return the favor in the districts,” said Walsh coach Rocco Cona. “This is Nathan’s first trip to state, and I’m very happy with what he has accomplished.”
Nathan Hobrath’s first match at state will be against Sam Laber of Cincinnati Seven Hills High School.
Doubles players junior Ricky Harris and sophomore Noah Hobrath won their first two matches to qualify for state. They then lost to teams from Beachwood High School and University School to finish in fourth place. Their first opponents at state will be Landon Neuman and Evan Neuman of Elida High School.
“They won a couple of good matches and then hung in there for the other two,” Cona said. “They will be going into state as a No. 4 seed, so they will face a tough match down there.”
Sophomore Chris Mazak and the doubles team of juniors Patrick Spittler and Pete Biondi also competed at districts for the Warriors. Spittler and Biondi won their first-round match before losing in the quarterfinals 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to a team from University School. Mazak lost in the first round.
“We had six of our seven varsity players reach districts, so we have really good depth overall,” Cona said. “We have a No. 1 player and a lot of good players in supporting roles.”
Highland High School’s Aris Spirtos and Rodney James won their first-round match over a team from Youngstown Cardinal Mooney High School 6-1, 6-2.
“Mooney’s team was a No. 4 seed, so they didn’t pose too much of a challenge,” said Highland coach Lisa Reynolds. “They were good players, but we played well against them.”
The Hornets moved on to the quarterfinals, where they lost to Harris and Noah Hobrath 7-5, 6-4.
“It was a very close match,” said Reynolds. “Both teams were breaking back and forth. I think the difference is that Walsh played very loose. “We thought we could go to state,” she added, “and they didn’t have those same expectations.”
Spirtos signed last fall to play at Cleveland State University, and James is expected to play in college as well.
“Rodney runs track as well, so he has been traveling from one sport to the other for the past two weeks,” said Reynolds. “He went from the sectional tennis tournament in Rocky River down to the track meet in Green. Then, he went from our district meet in Canton up to the regional track meet in Lakewood.”
Chad Thompson, a sectional champion from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA), defeated Dan Fearer of Norton High School 6-0, 6-1 in the first round. Thompson lost in the quarterfinals to Zak Kelm of University School 6-1, 6-1.