Girls come up just short of regionals
By Kyle LoJacono
It isn’t as regular as the sun rising and setting, but the Wiregrass Ranch boys tennis team is making trips to regionals nearly as habitual.
The Bulls entered the Class 3A-District 5 tournament at River Ridge April 6-7 with a 13-0 record and the No. 1 seed.
“We expected to do well, but you always have to go out and give your best effort or you will get beat,” said Wiregrass Ranch boys coach Dave Wilson. “The boys came out and didn’t take anyone lightly. I’m very proud of the way they all played.”
Wilson has guided the program since the school opened five years ago. The Bulls were the district runner-up in 2007 and 2008, and also the district champion last year.
Wiregrass Ranch has yet to reach the state tournament as a team, but the addition of Courage Okungbowa may change that this season.
Okungbowa, a sophomore, moved to Wesley Chapel from Virginia and moved into the No. 1 spot for the Bulls.
“Adding a player like Courage at the top of our lineup made us a much deeper team,” Wilson said. “Spencer Ong was our No. 1 last year and is still on the team at No. 2, so everyone slides down. It’s something that has really helped our whole lineup.”
Wiregrass Ranch beat out Lecanto 27-21 for the district title.
The Bulls girls earned 13 points in districts, but were unable to make it four straight regional berths, coming in third behind Citrus (22 points) and host River Ridge (18 points).
Wiregrass Ranch’s Hannah Still, a senior, reached the No. 1 final, but was defeated by River Ridge’s Tijana Subotic 6-3, 6-0. Still beat Subotic in three sets during the regular season and a repeat win would have given her a spot in states individually.
The Bulls reached the state tournament last year, but their top two players Sarah and Elizabeth Means decided not to play high school tennis this season. Wiregrass Ranch entered districts as the No. 2 seed despite the loss of the Means sisters.
“We still had a great year,” said Wiregrass Ranch girls coach Jewell Fye. “They stepped up and fought all year.”
The Bulls boys will host Dayton Beach Seabreeze at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12.
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