Deep Run savors view from the top
Maggie Walker GS, Hanover girls defend their state titles
After a 5-3 loss in last year’s state final and the departure of four-time state singles champion Nina Sorkin, Deep Run’s spirit could have easily been broken.
Once this season started, more obstacles jumped in front of the Wildcats. The resurfacing of Deep Run’s tennis courts meant the team had to practice elsewhere for three weeks, sometimes splitting just three courts between all 16 players. Injuries struck as well, causing a few players to miss time.
None of that stopped the Wildcats from winning their second state championship in three years Saturday as they defeated Thomas Jefferson
S&T 5-1 at Glen Allen High School for the Class 5 crown.
“We got so close last year, so we wanted it really bad this year,” Wildcats coach Maria Sorkin said. “I think losing last year was actually good for us.”
Deep Run got rolling quickly as Brooke Connatser won the No. 1 singles match 6-0, 6-3 and Audrey Butterworth swept the No. 2 singles match without losing a game. Olivia Wright, a 6-foot-1 freshman, won at No. 3 singles 6-0, 6-1 to give the Wildcats a quick 3-0 lead.
Connatser and Butterworth both pointed to the addition of Wright as one of the keys to overcoming last year’s heartbreaking finish. Their coach did, too, adding that Wright would succeed at any spot in the lineup.
“She could be (No.) 1, 2 or 3,” Sorkin said of Wright. “Putting her at (No. 3 singles), as a freshman, it’s like a definite win.”
After the teams split the Nos. 4 and 5 singles matches, it was up to either Catherine Shen at No. 6 singles or the duo of Connatser and Butterworth at No. 1 doubles to finish the job. In last year’s state final against George Marshal, Connatser suffered an injury that prevented her from playing her doubles match. That proved to be a costly loss.
When Shen’s match went into a third set, Connatser got an opportunity to avenge last year’s injury alongside Butterworth. Deep Run’s top two players dominated their match 6-1, 6-1 to earn another championship trophy.
“It makes it, definitely, a lot more special,” Connatser said of winning the match in doubles play. “After last year, we really wanted to come back and improve.”
Singles: Connatser (DR) d. Wan 6-0, 6-3; Butterworth (DR) d. Prasad 6-0, 6-0; Wright (DR) d. Nair 6-0, 6-1; Alejandro (TJ) d. O’Neill 6-3, 6-1; Wen (DR) d. Mao 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles: Connatser/Butterworth d. Prasad/Nair 6-1, 6-1.
CLASS 4 GIRLS Hanover girls repeat
As defending Group 4 state champions, the Hawks were the team to beat for those hoping to dethrone them as the reigning queens of the newly configured Class 4.
Saturday at Salem Civic Center, John Handley did its best, but it wasn’t enough as the Hanover girls won their second straight state title with a 5-2 victory over the Judges.
Hanover head girls tennis coach Lindsey Hein said the Hawks girls did a great job of handling the pressure.
“They handled it with an amazing amount of poise,” Hein said.
Junior Madison Moore and freshman Raine Weis each got a pair of singles wins for the Hawks, but also as members of the No. 1 doubles team — whose 6-1, 6-3 win over John Handley’s Meredith Watts and Lillian Smith clinched the championship match.
In singles play, Moore defeated Watts 6-1, 7-5 in the No. 1 singles and Weis defeated Smith 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 2 singles matches.
Singles: Moore (HAN) d. Watts 6-1, 7-5; Weis (HAN) d. Smith 6-1, 6-0; Lewis (JH) d. Moon 6-4, 6-1; Wise (JH) d. Temple 6-1, 6-2; B. Kazelskis (HAN) d. Larsen 6-3, 6-0; M. Kazelskis d. Love 6-4, 6-0.
Doubles: Moore/Weis d. Watts/Smith 6-1, 6-3.
Records: John Handley 21-1; Hanover 22-0
CLASS 2 GIRLS Maggie Walker girls win 2nd straight title
Anna Soffin and Narmeen Rashid led off dominantly for the Green Dragons, losing just three games combined at the Nos. 1 and 2 singles spots to win in straight sets and spark a 5-1 win in the Class 2 state championship.
The Green Dragons, who won their second consecutive state crown, finished the match without going to doubles play. Radford’s only win came in the No. 4 singles between Kathleen Reuwer and Natalie Kim, which Reuwer won 6-2, 6-2.
The win gives Maggie
Walker, which finished No. 2 in the T-D Top 10, a sweep of the singles, doubles and team titles for the second straight year.
Singles: Soffin (MWGS) d. Graham 6-0, 6-1; Rashid (MWGS) d. Wood 6-1, 6-1; Finnegan (MWGS) d. Cormany 6-3, 6-4; Reuwer (RAD) d. Kim 6-2, 6-2; Werwatch (MWGS) d. Ward 6-1, 6-1; Liu (MWGS) d. Minarik 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).
CLASS 5 BOYS Mills Godwin falls short
The match wasn’t as lopsided as the final score makes it seem, but the Eagles lost 5-1 to Thomas Jefferson S&T in the Class 5 boys championship Saturday at Glen Allen.
“I think if you look at some of the scores … it was a little closer than it might have looked on paper,” Godwin coach Mike Silver said.
The Eagles’ season ended in No. 1 singles play. Sophomore Rishi Shankar was the last man standing for Godwin until Ted Zhou finalized Thomas Jefferson’s fifth straight state championship with a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Singles: Zhou (TJ) d. Shankar 6-4, 6-4; Wen (TJ) d. Curtis 6-1, 6-4; Roy (TJ) d. Campbell 6-1, 6-2; Chung (TJ) d. Brant 6-1, 6-2; Prinz (MG) d. Gnanakumar 6-4, 6-2; Singh (TJ) d. Grott 6-2, 6-2.
CLASS 4 BOYS Hanover boys swept
With their top two playing with injuries — a strained Achilles tendon for No. 1 singles Turner Cole and a broken finger for their No. 2, Ross Violi — it may be no surprise that Hanover fell to a healthier and better rested Riverside team, 5-0.
Cole said three straight days of tennis — on top of a regional championship match earlier in the week — took a toll on him and on the team in general.
But he said it had been a great run.
“In my senior year, getting to go to all three [tournaments], especially with three freshman starting, really felt good,” Cole said. “They’re going to have a good future ahead.”
Singles: Kadyrkaev d. Cole 7-6 (5), 6-2; Kamman d. Violi 6-3, 6-4; Upadhyaya d. Brooks 6-2, 6-0; Soh d. Loce 6-2, 3-0; Rath d. Woolard 7-5, 6-2.
Hanover’s Brooke Kazelskis gets to a ball for a return during her 6-3, 6-0 win over John Handley’s Meredith Larsen. The Hawks defended their Class 4 state championship in Salem.