PLAIN CITY, Ohio — The St. John’s Jesuit tennis program has been one of the strongest in Ohio for many years.
The Titans had a state singles champion as recently as 2011 with Evan Bechtel.
Add the tie of family to the program’s recent tradition of success.
On Friday, at the state tournament that began at Ohio State and concluded at Elysium Tennis Center in Plain City, the brothers duo of junior Ryan Brown and sophomore Kevin Brown emerged with a pair of three-set victories in Division I doubles.
The Brown brothers will play Cincinnati Sycamore’s Dylan Stern and Deepak Indrakanti in a semifinal today.
“I think just feeding off each other’s energy made the difference, and just us being brothers,” Ryan said.
Added Kevin: “It’s a big deal. We’re brothers and we stayed aggressive.”
Brown and Brown opened state with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Dublin Jerome brothers Adam Seitz and Kent Seitz. In the second round, they again rallied for a victory, beating Sycamore’s Yuri Karev and Nakul Narendran 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
“They’ve only played together a few times, but I think it helps that they’re brothers,” coach Jim Davis said. “I just felt like they kept fighting.”
St. John’s will compete as a team in a separate tournament Sunday when the Titans play in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association state semifinals.
The Browns were the only local players to advance from the singles and doubles action on Friday.
In Division I singles, Perrysburg senior Jeffrey Schorsch ended a stellar career by losing to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit junior Aaron Sandberg 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match.
Last season, Schorsch lost to Sandberg in the third-place match.
Schorsch, who will play for Valparaiso University, opened with a 6-1, 6-2 win against Cincinnati Sycamore’s Alex Taylor.
He battled an ankle injury earlier this season and competed at state despite elbow tendinitis.
“It’s just been a great experience being at state for four years,” said Schorsch, who finished 28-2. “I thought I fought hard every year.”
Added coach Mark Weider: “He just came up a little short. [Sandberg] played his game but it easily could have gone the other way.”
Also in Division I singles, Central Catholic junior Dugan Delp lost to Mason’s Luke Tsai 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.
In Division II doubles, Maumee Valley Country Day seniors Annu Reddy and Navdeep Bais opened by beating Danny Nelson and Nate Ewing of Millersburg West Holmes 6-3, 6-1, but lost to Adam Lee and Vid Yadav of Gates Mills Hawken 6-1, 6-3 in the second round.
“[Hawken’s] consistency was a little bit better than ours,” coach Chris Sanford said. “Their return of serve put us on the defensive. They had a goal of reaching district and they exceeded it. They played their best tennis at the end of the year.”