Oakton girls top Langley for crown
Cougars rally to win boys’ final over Saxons
Overcome with emotion after winning her No. 2 doubles match, Oakton senior Alekhya Nanduri dropped her racket and ran over to embrace freshman teammate Victoria Thai with a tearful hug.
With the victory, the Cougars swept Langley, 5-0, to clinch their first Virginia 6A girls’ tennis team title Saturday afternoon at George Mason University in Fairfax. The historic win came only hours after the Cougars boys’ tennis team claimed its own inaugural state title by beating the Saxons, 5-2, in hot and humid conditions.
“It was thrilling,” Nanduri said. “You have all the adrenaline pushing through you and you know you can do it for your school. It feels amazing.”
Boosted by the boys’ victory, Thai and Nanduri gave the Cougars a quick 2-0 lead by winning their No. 3 and No. 4 singles matches, respectively, in straight sets. Senior Vivien Ho added a victory at sixth-flight singles, while junior Lindsey Le rallied to win at No. 2 singles in three sets to set the stage for the sweep.
“When we had four wins, [Oakton Coach Lauren Carpenter] came over and told us we could be the winning match,” Thai said. “That really motivated us and we really wanted to be the winning match in states.”
The Oakton boys’ tennis team overcame a slow start to win five straight matches, which started with Cougars senior standout Adrien Bouchet’s 6-2, 6-1 victory over Langley junior Hammy Abuhamda at the top-flight singles.
With his team up 3-2, Oakton senior captain Josh Castellano engaged in a marathon-three-set battle with Saxons senior Suhaas Singireddy. Castellano saved two match points in the third set and rallied from being down 5-2 in the tiebreaker to win, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), to give the Cougars a crucial point.
“I didn’t think about all the people watching me,” Castellano said.
Notes: The Jefferson boys’ team beat Deep Run, 5-2, to claim the Virginia 5A team title and its third straight team trophy at Huntington Park in Newport News. Seniors Kevin Wan and Justin Sun clinched the title with a win at No. 2 doubles. . . .
Marshall lost to Mills Godwin, 5-3, in the 5A girls’ team finals after 6 1/2 hours of play, which included a delay because of thunder.