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Sidelines: Titans second in state team tennis tourney



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St. John's Jesuit advanced to the championship match last weekend of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I team tournament before falling to Upper Arlington 3-2.

The Titans, who were ranked third in Ohio in the final D-I coaches poll, swept Massillon Jackson 4-0 in the semifinals. In the final, St. John's won both doubles matches but lost all three singles matches to finish runner-up for the fourth time in six seasons.

The Titans' lineup included juniors Evan Bechtel and Ryan Jorgensen at first and second singles along with senior Devon Sbrocchi at third singles. Junior Connor Majdalani and senior Josef Pontasch teamed up at first doubles, while sophomores Bobby Adusumilli and Madhav Mehta were paired at second doubles.

"This team did a great job handling high expectations," coach Jim Davis said. "They had to handle a lot of pressure, and they handled that pressure day-in and day-out. I'm very proud of these kids. I know they gave us everything they had."

The Titans reached the state semifinals for a sixth consecutive season. They placed third the previous two seasons and were second from 2005-07.

St. John's has a record of 150-6 in dual matches in those six seasons - the six losses all came in the final four of the team tournament.

"The tradition these players have developed is phenomenal," Davis said. "It's hard to imagine any time - in any sport - with a better record than these players have put together the past six years."

Patrick Henry will open the 2010 football season by playing in an event called the Big Day Prep Showdown VI.

The three-day event, now in its sixth season, will be held Aug.

26-28 at Eastern Michigan's Rynearson Stadium. The Patriots, the only Ohio school participating, will face St. Charles (Mich.) at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28.

Patrick Henry needed to find a game after Leipsic dropped the Patriots from their schedule.

"Our athletic director, Bryan Hieber, did a lot of work to find this game," PH coach Bill Inselmann said. "It's a good game for us because it's on turf in a large college stadium, and we're facing a team from a school that is roughly our size that has had a lot of success. We think this is a neat way to start our season."

St. Charles is a Division 6 school located roughly 20 miles southwest of Saginaw. The Bulldogs finished 10-2 after advancing to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs last year. St. Charles last won a state title in 1999.

"I exchanged some film with their coach [Brady Lake], and it turns out they are a well-coached team," Inselmann said. "My understanding is that they are having trouble finding teams their size that will play them. Maybe we've bit off a bit more than we can chew."

Patrick Henry has reached the state playoffs the last eight seasons. The Patriots (13-1) advanced to the Division V state semifinals last year.

"We're going to approach this game as if it were a playoff game - in a way, it is," Inselmann said. "We think it will have a tournament atmosphere, because it's a big game for us and a big game for them. And there's a bit of an unknown factor in this game, and I think that's neat."

Central Catholic's Jake Henderson signed a national letter of intent to wrestle at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

Henderson used a strong senior year to earn the scholarship offer from the Monarchs. The 215-pounder posted a 49-1 record this season, with his only loss coming in sudden-death overtime of the Division II state championship. Henderson finished with 142 wins, a school record.

On March 26-28, Henderson wrestled at the Senior Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va., and finished fourth at 215. Wrestling against some of the top wrestlers from around the country, Henderson posted a 7-2 record, including four wins over state champs from other states, to place fourth.

Henderson is part of an Old Dominion recruiting class that is ranked among the top 25 in the nation by both Intermat and Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine.

Another recruit of the Monarchs is Toledo native Jerome Robinson, a two-time state champion who attended Cleveland St. Ignatius.

Alex Lopez of Patrick Henry signed a national letter of intent to wrestle at Cleveland State.

Last season Lopez finished with a 46-3 record and was sixth at 130 pounds in the Division III state tournament last season. Lopez, who posted a 174-14 career record, was state runner-up at 125 as a junior and placed seventh at 112 as a freshman.

Lopez is the only three-time state place-winner in school history.

Owens Community College has signed three City League athletes.

Waite's Antonio Allen, a 6-7 forward who averaged 13.3 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, will play for the Express men's basketball team.

Clay will send two players to the Owens softball program - pitcher Kasey Graham and shortstop Hallie Thompson.

Graham was 15-3 with 139 strikeouts in 1351/3 innings and posted a 1.19 ERA for the 24-5 Eagles, who were district runners-up and won their fourth City League championship in five seasons. Thompson batted .333 with 16 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

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