JFK doubles team wins sectional title
BOARDMAN – Tyler Cole and John Nader earned a top seed for next week’s Division II district tennis tournament in Canton.
The Division II districts are Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m. The singles play at Weis Park and the doubles are at Canton City Park.
The John F. Kennedy High School boys tennis duo beat Rich Hill and Andrew Stille of Cardinal Mooney in Saturday’s sectional semifinals at Boardman High School, 6-2, 6-0. Hill and Stille are a No. 3 seed.
Cole and Nader, both juniors, beat Ryan Calcagni and Anthony Riccardi of Poland in the finals, 7-6 (2), 6-2.
Cole and Nader, who advance to their third straight district, were untouchable during sectionals – not losing a match.
The two, who were the No. 2 and No. 3 singles during the regular season, made it really click this season, JFK coach Joe Marino said.
“This year they really understand doubles,” Marino said. “They move well together. They use signs. They not only play fundamental doubles; they’ve figured it out. It’s not just placement of the ball. It’s the variety of shots. They play really well together.”
Cole and Nader lost to state qualifiers their previous two years at districts. This year, they are the feared team, Marino said.
“When you’re a No. 1 seed and one of the teams other people hope they don’t have to play, it’s good,” Marino said.
JFK’s Jad Abdul-Aal, who advanced to state last year, beat Lakeview’s Aaron Paczak in the singles semfinals, 6-4, 6-4.
“Jad and he had a really good match,” Lakeview coach Stephanie Hickey said.
Poland’s Garrett Gardner then beat Abdul-Aal, 6-4, 6-0, to earn a No. 1 seed, while Abdul-Aal enters districts as a No. 2 seed.
“In order to beat him, you have to be on your ‘A’ game the whole match. Jad played well. Garrett was a little bit better today,” Marino said.
Paczak, a junior, rallied from his loss to Abdul-Aal to beat Ursuline’s Les Horvath in the finals, 6-2, 6-0. Paczak is a third seed, while Horvath is a fourth seed.
However, this is the first time a Lakeview singles player advanced to districts in the program’s nine-year history.
“That’s quite an honor right there,” Hickey said.
In the other doubles matches, Calcagni and Ricciardi beat Lakeview’s Eric Rohrabaugh and Zach Teffner in the semifinals, 6-4, 6-1. Calcagni and Riccardi are a No. 2 seed.
Rohrabaugh and Teffner, a No. 4 seed, lost to Hill and Stille in the finals, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Rohrabaugh, a sophomore, and Teffner, a freshman, started playing doubles two weeks ago. Neither played in sectionals prior to this year.
“They learned the doubles position. They have it down now,” Hickey said. “They’ve come together as a team in short period of time.”
This is the sixth straight year Lakeview has sent a doubles team to districts.
Paczak is heading to districts for the third straight season. Last year, he and Zack McDivitt advanced to state.
“He’s going to be more prepared than my doubles team,” Hickey said. “It’s a much higher level of play. I’m hoping Aaron gets a good draw.”
As for the trio from JFK, Marino sees good things in store.
“All three players have a really good shot at making it to state,” he said.
DIVISION I: Canfield’s doubles team of Nock Debiec and William Brown earned a No. 2 seed for next week’s Division I district tournament.
Debiec and Brown beat Massillon Jackson’s Mark Dickeroof and Mark Spencer-Jackson in Saturday’s Canton sectional semifinals, 7-6 (4),7-5.
Debiec and Brown lost to North Canton Hoover’s Rob DeMarco and Mike O’Connor in the finals, 6-0. 6-2.