BOYS TENNIS: Burns returns to D10 singles final Monday

ERIE – The reigning District 10 Class AA Singles champ from last year, Warren’s Shane Burns will return to the D10 finals on Monday afternoon to square off with Fairview freshman Ben Wescott.

The top seed, Burns’ trip to the finals was via an 8-2 win over Josh Schrecengost of Corry; 8-0 over Nikolo Lima of Kennedy Catholic; 8-5 over Ryan Campbell of Mercyhurst Prep, and; a 6-1, 6-2 semifinal win over Jon Oskin of Fairview to earn a place in Mondays’ singles final.

Among other Warren singles players, sophomore Nathan Sandberg – seeded eighth – just missed playing his teammate in the final as he reached the semifinal round. His day started as a qualifier winning an 8-0 match over Teven Vargo of Harbor Creek to get into the main draw. Once he won that qualifier round, Sandberg was seeded eighth by the committee of coaches.

His road to the semifinals included a 8-4 win over Nick Kneidinger of Mercyhurst Prep; 8-4 over Mike Siegel of Fairview; and he then squared off with Chad Ferguson of Greenville. Ferguson was last years’ D10 finalist in singles and was the No. 2 seed for this tournament. In the 8-game pro-set, Sandberg ground down Ferguson to win the match by an 8-6 margin.

“This was by far the biggest match of the day,” said Warren coach Jeff Bartsch. “Nate played control tennis and kept the ball away from the speedy Ferguson. Nate got to the net first and when he did venture in, Nate was dominant from the front court,” he added.

In the semifinals, Sandberg ran into Ben Wescott of Fairview, who also was a qualifier but unseeded. Sandberg dropped the SF match 4-6, 1-6 to Wescott. “Nate expended too much energy in the previous match in defeating Ferguson. That expenditure enabled Wescott to win and move on to the finals,” said Bartsch. “Otherwise, it would have been an all-Warren singles final.”

Seeded 4th, Matt Sandberg defeated Jesse Kirila of Kennedy Catholic by an 8-3 score; then Dan Marx of Girard by an 8-5 score; he then fell out in the quarterfinals to Oskin by an 4-8 score.

“Matt was down 0-4 to Marx and was forced to rally and slowly climb back into the match,” said Bartsch. “He consumed so much energy to win that match, that he may have used up all of his reserve energy for the next match. Marx played well, and he forced Matt to up his game.”

Also performing well for the Dragons was senior Nick Tarpenning, who started the day as a qualifier. He won two rounds to get into the main draw; defeated Joseph Evans of Sharon 8-1, then Trent McErlane of Greenville 8-2. In his first-round match, Tarpenning defeated Josh Ott of Mercyhurst Prep by a 9-7 score. In the round of 16, Nick squared off with 6th-seeded Trevor Osborne of Harbor Creek where he dropped a 5-8 decision ending his run into the tournament.

The finals between Burns of Warren and the freshman Wescott of Fairview will be played at 3:30 p.m. Monday at the Pennbriar Club in Erie. Burns will enter the finals with a 19-1 singles record for this season.