Second-year school Philip Simmons won its first title in the SCHSL boys tennis Class AA final on Saturday in Columbia, while Bishop England defended its Class AAA title.
Wando fell in the Class AAAAA final for the second straight year.
PHILIP SIMMONS 6, ST. JOSEPH'S 0
The talented and highly ranked Philip Simmons Iron Horses (13-3) had to use all of their resources to walk off with a 6-0 win over previously unbeaten St. Joseph's Catholic School of Greenville in the Class AA final.
"St. Joseph's is the best team we've played this year," said Philip Simmons coach Richard Schultz, who has seen his team beat the likes of Class AAA state champion Bishop England, Class AAAA finalist A.C. Flora and Class AAAAA finalist Wando this season.
"We just haven't played Spartanburg (2019 Class AAAAA state champion)."
Coy Simon, the South's No. 1 boys 18 player, struggled to pull out a 7-5, 4-6, 10-3 victory over St. Joseph's Nick Loudermilk at No. 1 singles.
"Coy was pushed to the limit. Coy played wonderfully, but the other guy played wonderfully, too," Schultz said.
Southern boys 16 No. 1 Max Smith, Southern boys 16 No. 4 Mitchell Deames and Southern boys 14 No. 13 Carson Baker, as well as young Jake Smith, all scored straight-set wins at the rest of the singles positions. Not bad for a Philip Simmons team that didn't have a senior in its lineup.
"Before the match, I told all 16 of our players that they might play in some big tournaments during their careers, but they would remember 50 years from now the time they played in the S.C. state championship match," Schulz said.
SINGLES: Coy Simon (PS) def. Nick Loudermilk, 7-5, 4-6, 10-3; Max Smith (PS) def. Maclean Armstrong, 6-2, 6-1, Mitchell Deames (PS) def. Patrick Reese, 6-2, 6-0; Carson Baker (PS) def. Matthew Jacques, 6-3, 6-0; Jake Smith (PS) def. Collin Maides, 6-4, 6-0.
DOUBLES: JD Sutterlin/Garrett Brooker (PS) def. Lee Eberly/Hugh McGee, 6-1, 6-4.
BISHOP ENGLAND 6, CLINTON 1
Once again, the Bishops (17-1) were too strong for Clinton (15-3) in the Class AAA state final. This time, Bishop England dropped one position for a 6-1 win. BE took the 2018 final over Clinton 6-0.
Hector Romero, Harrison Estey, Lukas Gosselein and Rafe Flathman all won for the Bishops in Nos. 2-5, respectively, but junior Zach Dacuba suffered the only loss for the Bishops at No. 1 singles. Clinton's Ike Waldron scored a 7-5, 7-6 (2) win over Dacuba.
"It was a good season for the boys," said BE coach Kristin Fleming Arnold.
And also it was a great season for Fleming Arnold, who won her third state title in six years as the boys coach. Her BE girls team is working on a string of eight consecutive state titles. She also won three state titles as a player for the Bishops, giving her a total of 15 state titles.
"We are working hard to build a good program that everyone is excited to be part of," Fleming Arnold said.
The Bishops also should have a solid shot to win the state title three years in a row next season, because only Romero and Flathman graduate this spring.
SINGLES: Ike Waldron (C) def. Zach Dacuba, 7-5, 7-6; Hector Romero (BE) def. Conner Donley, 6-1, 6-0; Harrison Estey (BE) def. Anders Orr, 6-0, 6-1; Lukas Gosselein (BE) def. Hayden Minor, 6-0, 6-1; Rafe Flathman (BE) def. Brandon Campbell, 6-3, 6-0.
DOUBLES: Jose Rentas/Liam French (BE) def. Eli Brewer/Hayden Stinson, 6-0, 6-0.
SPARTANBURG 5, WANDO 0
It was the same old story in Class AAAAA. Spartanburg was too good for the rest of the AAAAA playoff field. The Vikings shut out Wando (16-4) for the second straight year in the state final, this time 5-0.
The victory marked the sixth consecutive state title for Spartanburg, which took a 6-0 win over the Warriors a year ago. The two teams didn't play No. 2 doubles this time.
"The boys played great. We just couldn’t catch a break," said 12th-year Wando coach Winde Ellenberg. "They (Spartanburg) didn’t miss and outplayed us. We were nervous but super proud to be back. Lower state back-to-back (champions)."
Wando sophomore Luke Prendergast came close to pulling out a win in three sets at No. 1 against the Vikings' Will Cubitt, who played No. 4 for Spartanburg in the 2018 final. But Cubitt took the match tiebreaker to finish off a 2-6, 6-1, 10-1 victory.
The Warriors couldn't push any of the other four singles matches to a third set.
But things might be different for the Warriors next time since No. 3 Will Bumgarner is the only senior. Junior No. 2 Alex Shaw, sophomore No. 4 Jack Johnson and No. 5 Nick Heindel, only an eighth-grader, all should be back.
SINGLES: Will Cubitt (S) def. Luke Prendergast, 2-6, 6-1, 10-1; Rushil Patel (S) def. Alex Shaw, 6-0, 6-4; Mac Morehead (S) def. Will Bumgarner, 6-2, 6-2; Jack Coleman (S) def. Jack Johnson, 6-3, 6-2; Jerome Falcon (S) def. Nick Heindel, 6-2, 6-3.
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.