HIGH SCHOOLS

In Vir­ginia, a day for state cham­pi­ons to be crowned.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY SA­MAN­THA PELL sa­man­tha.pell@wash­post.com

glen allen, va. — Chan­tilly’s Will Pak stood in the mid­dle of his team­mates Satur­day af­ter­noon at Deep Run High, his feet planted on the green ten­nis courts, while his arms made their way out­stretched to hoist the shiny Vir­ginia Class 6 boys’ team ten­nis state cham­pi­onship tro­phy.

Only a sopho­more and the No. 1 player for the Chargers, Pak led his team to the school’s sec­ond boys’ ten­nis state ti­tle in the past three years with a 5-0 win over Frank W. Cox.

“He’s a spe­cial ath­lete; you don’t see them too of­ten in high school ten­nis,” Chan­tilly Coach Matt Datta said. “He’s only a sopho­more, but a true leader on the team.”

Pak won his match, 6-2, 6-0. He had won the Vir­ginia Class 6 state sin­gles ti­tle after beat­ing Land­stown’s Chris­tian Bas­night, 6-0, 6-0, on Thurs­day.

And on Satur­day, Pak’s early win set the tone for the rest of the team.

“We were all pretty loose, but we all knew we had a job to get done and we had to win our matches and do what we had to do no mat­ter if we were on the court or on the side­lines,” Pak said. “We are all here to get a job done.”

Ju­nior Shaun Ganju won, 6-0, 6-2; ju­nior Manu Bala­sub­ra­ma­nian won, 6-0, 6-1; sopho­more Keith Orr won, 6-3, 6-0; and sopho­more Manas Kethireddy won, 6-3, 6-4.

“It is a great, great bunch of boys,” Datta said. “A lot of fun. We had a motto in the sea­son, ‘Never give up, never back down’ and that is what they did all year.”

Chan­tilly fought through a tough slate of matches to reach the state fi­nals, in­clud­ing vic­to­ries over Oakton and Robin­son. Datta said the qual­ity of op­po­nents they had to go through just added to the sweet­ness of the win, as he looks to the fu­ture with a young core of play­ers.

“We will try again, but we are go­ing to sa­vor this one,” Datta said.

The first time Chan­tilly won a ti­tle was 2016, over Cosby, 5-3, in an im­prob­a­ble cham­pi­onship run.

River­side cap­tures first ti­tle

Only three years into its team’s his­tory, River­side (23-0) won its first Vir­ginia Class 4 boys’ ten­nis ti­tle with a 5-0 vic­tory over Hanover at the Salem Com­plex. River­side’s No. 1 Misha Kadyrkaev led the way in a closely fought bat­tle against Hanover’s Turner Cole, win­ning, 7-6, 6-2.

“It was a long work in progress, we had to piece to­gether a team the first year, and now in three years we have a core group of guys who are very com­pet­i­tive,” Coach Chris Snow said.

Thomas Jef­fer­son (19-0) de­feated Mills God­win, 5-1, in the Vir­ginia Class 5 cham­pi­onship to win its sixth straight ti­tle. Jef­fer­son’s Ted Zhou led the way with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Mills God­win’s Rishi Cha­ran Shankar. Jef­fer­son’s sin­gles match loss was its first all year to a Class 5 team.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Ge­orge Ma­son beat John Bat­tle, 5-1, to earn the Vir­ginia Class 2 cham­pi­onship and clinch a state-record 16 ti­tles. Ma­son started off the day strong by rolling past Bat­tle in Nos. 3, 4 and 6 sin­gles to go up 3-0, be­fore ul­ti­mately win­ning at No. 2 sin­gles to take the match.

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