Fort Myers sophomore Thandiwe Kangwa punched her ticket to her second consecutive state tournament Thursday by defeating Cape Coral’s Melanie Allen 6-2, 6-4 for the No.1 singles title at the District 3A-13 championships at Riverdale High.
Kangwa lost to Allen handily in an early season matchup but wouldn’t allow the same to happen on the postseason stage.
Kangwa said she wasn’t out for revenge Thursday, just focused on making it back to the state championships.
“I was just trying to forget about the last time and play as if I hadn’t played her before,” Kangwa said. “I wanted to go in with a clean slate. I was nervous in the beginning but as the match went on I got more comfortable.”
The Green Wave girls had five individuals in the singles finals. All five won in two sets.
On the boys side, Cypress Lake freshman No. 1 Zach Blythe will be joining Kangwa at the state championships after defeating Fort Myers senior Adam Hamilton 6-1, 6-3.
Coaching Blythe has been a new challenge for Panthers second-year coach Roxi Bradway, who coached last season’s Class 3A state champion Parker Woodall, a senior. She said the team is more lively this year and having a lot more fun on and off the court.
“I think he played great, he definitely showed that he has a lot of talent,” Bradway said. “He was serving tough, playing the net tough and playing the baseline tough. He showed that he is a contender and one of the better players in the area.”
The boys No. 1 doubles semifinals proved to be the most exciting match of the day as Cypress Lake’s Blythe and Kyle Yates defeated Fort Myers Hamilton and Max Green 6-1, 6-4. Cypress Lake was down 4-2 in the second set but battled back to earn their spot in the final against Riverdale.
The doubles matches were supposed to be decided Thursday but because of impending inclement weather they were moved to Friday afternoon. No. 2 doubles semifinals between Fort Myers and Baker had to be stopped because of rain. They will play today at 2:30 p.m. followed by the girls and boys doubles finals.
Fort Myers girls will take home the district title with 19 points entering today’s doubles finals; North is in second with 10 points.
The Green Wave boys have locked up first with 14 points and Cypress sits in second with 11 points. The Panthers can only pick up one point today in the No. 1 doubles finals.