Parkersburg Catholic tennis finishes state runners-up
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time in three years, the entirety of the West Virginia High School state tennis tournament was played outside at Coonskin Park and Charleston Catholic’s tennis facility.
When everything was said and done the Morgantown girls and George Washington boys took home state titles in Class AAA, while Winfield swept both team championships in Class AA/A.
As for Parkersburg Catholic, Saturday marked the third year in a row the Crusaders competed for the top prize in Class AA/A.
Though they just fell short, PCHS head coach Jason Discini wasn’t dismayed.
Both his groups finished as state runners-up after a competitive three days of battling.
Catholic boys scored 10 points next to the Generals’ 17. Meanwhile, the girls came away short three points from forcing a tiebreaker at the top.
Officials would have first looked at the number of state titles won by each school as the first tiebreaker scenario.
If this was the same, they would have gone to state finalists which would have given Winfield the title 5 to 3.
“It wasn’t a horrible day,” said the head man who saw his daughter play and win easily the shortest pro-set match of the entire tournament. “I am very, very happy with the effort. The kids played fantastic and I am so proud of all their hardwork and accomplishments this season.”
Thirty-five minutes was all Marie Discini needed in her state title defense against Huntington St. Joe’s Audrey Hearberlin 6-0, 6-1. Each point was long and competitive as both girls know each other’s games well. Yet, Marie was able to end each game when she wanted to and repeat as state champion.
“I was feeling it,” said Discini who told her dad the same thing after warmups. “I had my head held high in the beginning and I knew she was a really good opponent. I was really nervous starting out. Her game is really good and in warmups I knew I was going to have a good match. She made it close even though the score didn’t reflect it.”
Though No. 1 doubles partner Hannah Sprout and she were denied a pairing title, the Crusaders still walked away with two state championship winners.
Sprout, who grew less and less nervous over three days of tournament competition, impressed with a convincing championship victory over Winfield Anicah Smith in No. 2 singles.
There was no insurance built in for the General, who took home the No. 4 singles title last season. Sprout never trailed on the way to a 6-2, 6-3 win.
“I mean I thought I could win this,” said Sprout when she got up 1 set early. “I am halfway there. I just have to win this next set and I am a state champion. I didn’t expect to go up as fast as I did. I think I wore her down throughout the match but I didn’t think it was going to be that quick in the second set.
“It is just unreal. Last year I didn’t make it for singles and this year I won singles. I didn’t think I improved that much. I feel like mentally I got tougher from the past year though.”
Both young ladies along with No. 1 singles player Nash Morris and No. 2 singles player Aidan Roberts were named to the all-state team. In order to qualify, each player had to finish in the top 2 in No. 1 and/or No. 2 singles.
The honor was the third straight for Morris, a senior, and second for Marie, a sophomore.
Morris fell short of repeating at state champion at the top position. The Crusader faced a formidble foe in Winfield’s Sam Bowman in the final. Bowman never let Morris get a solid foot in the match in a 6-2, 6-2 victory. The loss was an end to an impressive career for the Crusader. Morris made the finals at the No. 1 position three years in-a-row.
Roberts jumped out to a quick 3-0 start against Winfield’s Jon Bowman. However, Bowman recovered with a four-game winning streak and never trailed again en route to the title.
Both had one more chance for a championship on the day, but Winfield again spoiled the opportunity 6-1, 6-4.
In No. 3 singles action, Mitchell Clowes fell to Charleston Catholic’s Chris Istfan 6-2, 6-3.