Ithaca High junior Justin Milner fell in the round of 16 at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tennis championships, losing to top-seeded Matt Gamble 6-0, 6-2, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.
Gamble, a sophomore from Webster-Schroeder High in Rochester, went on to defeat Felipe Osses-Konig in the quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-2, and will take on fourth-seeded Zain Ali of Half Hollow Hills East in Saturday’s semifinals. The other semifinal pits third-seeded Artemie Amari of Beacon against No. 2 seed Taiyo Hamanaka of Eastchester.
“The match was closer than the score reflected,” Ithaca coach Arthur Falkson said of Milner’s loss to Gamble, who placed fifth last season as a freshman. “Many of the games went to deuce. It was excellent experience for Justin and helped him identify what he will need to work on to be successful at the next level — slightly better footwork and consistency, and depth on his groundstrokes.”
Ithaca’s doubles duo of junior Kevin Huang and eighth-grader Michael Zhao fell in their consolation round match to Andrew Bentz and Nasser Gaffar of Massapequa, 6-3, 6-4, but earned praise from their coach.
“Section 8 is traditionally one of the top tennis sections in the state,” Falkson said. “I thought that Kevin and Michael played their best match of the postseason today.”
Section 4’s other two doubles teams both lost in second-round play on Friday. The Corning duo of Alex Goforth and Gautham Sezhain lost to top-seeded Lucas Pickering and Maxwell Smith of Beacon, 6-3, 6-1, and Norwich’s Colin Stewart and Zan Stewart were eliminated by Danny Miron and Nicholai Westergaard of Fayetteville-Manlius, 6-3, 6-0.
Ithaca High’s tennis team finished the regular season 17-0 and extended its match winning streak to 44 dating back to the middle of the 2012 season. The Little Red has won the past three Southern Tier Athletic Conference titles.
Track & field
Section 4 State Qualifier: On Thursday at Binghamton High, Ithaca High had 13 athletes qualify for next weekend’s Division 1 state championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High with their performances at the qualifier.
For the boys, sprinter Mande Semon won both the 100 (11.04) and 200 (22.65), Jordan Hackworth met the qualifying standard for the long jump with a second-place leap of 21 feet, 6 inches, and Oseoba Airewele did the same in the triple jump, finishing second in 45-9¼. In both instances, Vestal’s Mike Egotanda was the winner as he beat Semon by 4¼ inches and Airewele by 2 inches.
In addition, the boys’ 400 relay of Semon, Hackworth, Darren Smith and Elliott Place took first place in 43.75 to qualify.
Lansing had four qualifiers from its boys’ team. Ben Rourke qualified in the Division 2 pentathlon with a total of 2,981 points, Anders Presthus won both the shot put (46-8½) and the discus (150-8) to earn a trip, and pole vaulters Max Jordan (14-0) and Dylan Bland (13-0) took 1-2 at the qualifier and will be at states.
On the girls’ side for Ithaca, Ainslie Denman won pentathlon with a total score of 2,202 points, Lauren Trumble qualified in the 800 meters by winning in 2 minutes, 16.40 seconds, and the 1,600 relay of Zoe Wilkie-Tomasik, Charlotte Williams, Sylvie Frank and Trumble took first in 4:06.08.
Lansing pole vaulter Hayley Wigsten finished second in Division 2 to Tioga’ Charlsie Bowen but met the qualifying standard with her leap of 10-6 and qualified.