Ithaca High’s powerful boys’ tennis team rolled through the Section 4 Class A tournament over the weekend, taking first and second places in both singles and doubles to win the team title going away and advancing a total of six players to the state qualifier.
In Saturday’s singles final, Ithaca senior Kevin Huang defeated classmate and teammate Justin Milner, 6-3, 6-3, with both earning a berth in the Section 4 State Qualifier, set for Friday and Saturday at the Binghamton Tennis Center. Top-seeded Huang advanced by defeating No. 4 Alex Wang of Corning, 7-6, 6-3, in Friday’s semifinals, while Milner earned a spot in the final by defeating third seed Mike Entry of Horseheads, 6-4, 6-2.
In the all-Ithaca doubles final, juniors Steven Carman and Jonathan Gomes Selman knocked off junior Aidan Mackenzie and freshman Michael Zhao, 6-4, 6-3. The winners played all season at first doubles for the Little Red, but were seeded third for the tournament, while Mackenzie and Zhao were the No. 1 seed.
Carman and Gomes Selman beat Horseheads’ Dustin McCullough and Kolby Reasons in the semis, 6-1, 7-5; Mackenzie and Zhao topped Horseheads’ Gavin DeWitt and David Massey, 6-3, 6-0.
In both cases, the losses were the first of the season for Ithaca’s singles and doubles runners-up, as all four singles players and three doubles teams were perfect this spring in leading the Little Red to its fourth straight Southern Tier Athletic Conference title. Ithaca has won 57 consecutive matches over the last three-plus seasons.
The third-place finishers in both singles and doubles at Class A sectionals will play off against the survivors of Tuesday’s East-West playoff featuring the top finishers in Class C/D. Those playoff matches will take place on Wednesday in Binghamton, with the winners advancing to the state qualifier.
Section 4 Medalist Tournament: Trumansburg junior Dan Lapp earned his fourth trip to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship by finishing first in the Section 4 Medalist tournament on Saturday at Cornell’s Robert Trent Jones course.
Lapp will join eight others from the section at the annual championship tournament, to be played Sunday and Monday, May 31 and June 1, back at Cornell.
After carding a 4-over-par 76 in Thursday’s opening round, Lapp came back on Saturday with a 5-over 77 to finish at 153, two strokes ahead of Windsor senior Nate Wrighter, one of three first-round co-leaders (76-79-155). The other was Susquehanna Valley sophomore D.J. Griffiths, who wound up third (76-80-156) and, like Lapp, will be making his fourth trip to states.
The rest of the Section 4 team includes Elmira Notre Dame’s Zach Brand, Chenango Valley’s Zach Wyatt, Ithaca High senior Collyn Shippos (82-80-162), Seton Catholic Central freshman Tommy Davis, Windsor freshman Tom Buchek and Vestal junior Jared Reester, who won a two-hole playoff with Union-Endicott’s Hogan Bendert for the final spot.
Section 4 tournament: Ithaca (6-9) returns to the Class AA sectional tournament for the first time since 2012 and will travel to division rival Corning (13-4), the No. 1 seed, in the semifinals next Tuesday, May 26. The other semifinal pits third seed Elmira (7-11) against No. 2 seed Horseheads (15-3); the winners will play for the title on Friday, May 29, at Union-Endicott.
Corning is coming off an 8-3 loss to Vestal in Saturday evening’s STAC final. The Hawks swept the season series against the Little Red, winning 12-1 on April 16 in Corning and 3-2 two weeks ago at Tatascore Field.
In Class B, ninth-seeded Dryden (8-9) travels to eighth seed Chenango Valley (7-9) for a first-round matchup on Tuesday, with the winner earning a shot at top seed Oneonta (13-4) on Thursday in the quarterfinals.
The other quarterfinal in that bracket is a rematch of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Large School final, which Union Springs won over five-time defending champion Thomas A. Edison, 2-1, on Friday. That game will take place at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Union Springs.
In the other half of the “B” bracket, 10th seed Newark Valley (6-9) travels to seventh seed Waverly (13-6) on Tuesday for a first-round game, with the winner heading to Susquehanna Valley (13-5) to battle the No. 2 seed Sabers. SV is coming off an 8-0 loss to Corning on Saturday in the STAC semifinals.
Third seed Seton Catholic Central (13-4) plays sixth seed Chenango Forks (10-8) in Thursday’s other Class B quarterfinal.
In Class C, top seed Lansing (14-3-1) earned a first-round bye and will face either ninth seed Moravia (5-11) or eighth seed Newfield (6-7) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Lansing. The Blue Devils and Trojans play at 4:30 Tuesday in Newfield.
In the lower half of the bracket, second seed Tioga (13-2), coming off a 7-1 loss to Trumansburg in the IAC Small School final, will host either 10th seed Oxford (9-7) or seventh seed Bainbridge-Guilford (8-5) on Thursday in the quarterfinals.
The other two quarterfinal matchups are set, both slated for 4:30 p.m. Thursday: No. 5 seed Sidney (13-5) travels to fourth seed Trumansburg (11-5), and sixth seed Unatego (11-7) travels to third seed Elmira Notre Dame (10-4-1).
Finals in all five classes are slated for May 29.