The Miami Trace Panthers tennis team competed in the Sectional tournament in Portsmouth Monday, May 8 and Wednesday, May 10.
Three Panthers have qualified from the Sectional to the District tournament that will be held at Ohio University in Athens on Saturday, May 20.
Singles player Juan Diego Navas made Panther history, winning the Sectional.
Seth Leach and Matt Fender also qualified to the District tournament.
Navas was a No. 4 seed in the Sectional.
In his first match, he defeated the No. 3 seed from Gallia Academy, 6-0, 6-0.
He then took on Grant Kuhlwein of Washington High School and won that match, 6-2, 6-1.
Navas then defeated Glenwood’s No. 2 seed, 6-0, 6-0, advancing him to the Elite Eight Districts draw for day two.
Navas defeated Marietta’s No. 1 seed, Eric Delong, 6-2, 6-2.
In his next match, Navas, undefeated on the season, faced another undefeated player in Wheelersburg’s Drew Jackson.
Navas prevailed, 6-4, 6-4.
That put Navas in the finals against the No. 2 seed, Connor Radune from Jackson. Navas won that match, 6-4, 6-2.
“Juan proved his skill, determination and grit as he ended up going all the way,” Miami Trace head coach Mitch Augenstein said.
“Miami Trace has never had a boy or girl from any previous program win a sectional title,” Augenstein said. “That makes Juan the first, giving him the No. 1 seed going into Districts.”
At first doubles, Seth Leach and Matt Fender defeated a team from Athens, 6-0, 6-0 in the second round.
They followed that up with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Logan Elm and on the second day of the tournament, they posted a 6-0, 6-2 win over Mason Cline and Tyler Wise of Marietta.
Leach and Fender lost to Pierce Wilcoxon and Miguel Velasco of Gallia Academy, 6-0, 6-0.
The Panther pair played Avery Clouse and Jonathan Reisinger of Logan Elm and fell, 6-1, 6-4.
Johnathan Allen and Adam Ginn had a bye in the first round.
They played the No. 4 seed from Waverly and won what Coach Augenstein called, “a huge upset”, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“I was very proud of the way they played,” Augenstein said. “They had to win one more in the third round to go to the Elite Eight and to the Districts.
“However, they lost a hard-fought match against Portsmouth Clay’s first doubles pair, 6-3, 6-4,” Augenstein said. “Portsmouth Clay ended up making it to the finals against Gallia, so it was a worthy opponent.”
At second singles, Thomas Bondi won in the first round against Athens’ third singles, 6-1, 6-0.
Bondi then defeated the No. 1 singles player from Gallia Academy, 6-3, 6-2.
He needed one more win to make it out to the Districts. However, Bondi lost to Marietta’s second singles, 6-4, 6-3.
At third singles, Ely Schirtzinger had to play Kenny Upthegrove from Washington in the first round.
Upthegrove defeated Schirtzinger, 6-0, 6-1.
“Kenny ended up being the No. 5 overall seed out of eight going to the Districts,” Augenstein said.
“I’m so proud of the way that all my boys played, and I couldn’t be more excited for the things still yet to come,” Augenstein said.
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