PARKERSBURG - Needing just one victory in one of its two doubles finals to secure at least a tie for the team championship, the girls tennis program from Marietta Middle School managed to do just that during Tuesday's Wood County Middle School Tournament at City Park.
Marietta's No. 1 doubles duo of Katie Kitchen and Bryce Macatol bounced back from a 3-2 deficit in the third and deciding set to defeat Jackson Middle School's Alex Olson and Kate Snider 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to force a 16-16 tie atop the team standings between the Tigers and the Generals.
As Wood County Middle School athletic director Bill Vincent was making an announcement that he needed to further investigate proper protocol for determining a winner, the head coaches from the two programs mutually decided to award the Tigers first place and Jackson as runner-up.
Jackson’s Shayan Ghodsi returns a forehand during his 6-4, 6-3 victory against Hamilton’s Matt Runyon in the finals of No. 2 singles during Tuesday’s Wood County Middle School Championship at City Park. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)
While all three doubles finals in the girls division were heading into a third set on courts one through three, the Jackson boys had already wrapped up a championship by outscoring runner-up Edison, 20-12.
Only Ben White of Edison winning 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 singles against Jackson's Neema Saadevandi prevented the Generals from making it a clean sweep in the finals for both singles and doubles.
In the singles bracket, Shayan Ghodsi outlasted Hamilton's Matt Runyon 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2; Noah Chidester took care of Edison's Anthony Tornabene 6-0, 6-1 at No. 3; and Andrew Gnegy defeated Edison's Michael Dawson 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4.
In doubles, Saadevandi and Ghodsi managed to get past White and David Evans 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1; Gnegy and Jerry Wang defeated Hamilton's Daniel Seebaugh and Matthew St. Clair 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2; and Chidester and Logan Bailey knocked off Tornabene and Dawson 6-2, 6-2.
At the beginning of championship day, the Marietta girls trailed Jackson 13-12. But the Tigers claimed three of the four victories in singles to take a 15-14 lead heading into the finals for doubles.
Setting up the dramatic finish were wins by the Tigers' Katie Kitchen, who defeated Olson 6-0, 6-3 at No. 1; Macatol getting by Edison's Sophia Miller 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2; and Meredith Coil edging Jackson's Ashley Casto 7-5, 6-1 at No. 3.
Jackson's lone singles win occurred at No. 4 with Snider defeating Marietta's Emma Stubbe 6-2, 6-0.
As the evening hours began to set in and three doubles matches yet to be decided, Jackson claimed the first win when Abby Stanley and Meredith Rogers erased a 1-0 deficit in the third set to claim a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 decision at No. 3. Next was Jackson's No. 2 duo of Casto and Lauren Kreuger defeating Coil and Stubbe.
That left only one match on the courts. Olson and Snider led 3-2 in the third set before Kitchen and Macatol rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.
With the exception of Coil, Marietta coach Chris Fennell will have to replace his entire girls roster.
"It will definitely be a rebuilding year next season," Fennell said. "The pool is thin and we are definitely looking for more tennis players out there."