Corning takes sectional tennis title; Ithaca second, will send 3 to state qualifier

Corning takes sectional tennis title; Ithaca second, will send 3 to state qualifier

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Corning takes sectional tennis title; Ithaca second, will send 3 to state qualifier

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Led by unbeaten senior Artem Khrapko, the Corning boys tennis team held off Ithaca High to capture the Section 4 Class A title on Tuesday at the Tioga Hills courts in Vestal.

The Hawks, who took a four-point lead over Ithaca after Thursday’s opening rounds of play, finished with 58 points to capture the title. They were followed by Ithaca (42), Elmira (25), Vestal and Horseheads (both 22), Union-Endicott (18) and Binghamton (15).

The Little Red, which on Monday captured its third consecutive Southern Tier Athletic Conference title, was led by junior Justin Milner, who defeated Corning’s Alex Wang 6-0, 6-4 in the singles semifinals before falling to nationally ranked Khrapko 6-0, 6-3 in the final.

Khrapko, who took last season off to compete in USTA events and is ranked among the top players on the East coast, breezed into the final with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Vestal’s Parth Lalkiya.

Junior Kevin Huang and eighth-grader Michael Zhao placed second in doubles for Ithaca, falling to Corning’s Alex Goforth and Gautham Sezhian, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4. The Ithaca pair advanced to the final by defeating Will Miller and Theo Keeley-LeClaire of Elmira, 6-3, 6-3.

With their top-three finishes, Milner, Huang and Zhao all qualified for this week’s state qualifier tournament, which starts Friday at the Binghamton Tennis Center. Milner, who has battled foot tendinitis for two years, is seeking his second straight trip to states; he competed last year in doubles with classmate Huang. The duo was eliminated after two matches last year at states.

STAC Final: On Monday, the Little Red defeated Maine-Endwell, 6-1, to win its third consecutive Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship and extend its dual-match win streak to 44, a run that started midway through the 2012 season.

Justin Milner and Kevin Huang won at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively, and Michael Zhao won at fourth singles. Huang, a junior, and Zhao, an eighth-grader, completed their seasons undefeated. M-E got its only win at third singles, with John Munley defeating Jacky Wu, 6-1, 6-1.

The doubles teams for the Little Red (17-0) swept the host Spartans (11-5). Winning were Steven Carman and Aidan Mackenzie at No. 1, Geoffrey Van Dover and Harrison Hensley at No. 2, and Harris Schwab and Tigran Mehrabyan at No. 3.

That victory completed a season sweep in doubles play, and marked the first time an Ithaca team has won every doubles match since Arthur Falkson took over as coach seven years ago.

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