Dragons win 4-of-5 doubles flights at own invitational

Warren won four of five doubles flights, and had five second-place finishes, on Saturday at the 7th Annual Warren Doubles Invitational at Betts Park.

Playing in the doubles-only event were the high schools of Olean, Harbor Creek, Elk County Catholic and Warren. All 40 Warren tennis players competed in one of the five divisions of play.

Olean’s top doubles pair of Zhi Wang and Jake Volz defeated Dragons Nate Sandberg and Ben Auzou, 8-3, to win the Flight One event. The Dragons finished second in this event, having defeated Elk County Catholic’s Alan Brennen and Austin Minard, 8-2, and Harbor Creek’s Kyle Thomas and Justin Gallagher, 8-1.

Flight two doubles was won by Dragon sophomore Tristan Boger and junior Sean McGuinness. The pair had won matches over Olean, 8-3, and then Harbor Creek, 8-2. In the finals, the Dragons squared off with another Dragon pair of Noah Colvin and Steffen Blair, who had qualified for the finals with an 8-5 win over Olean, then a 8-3 over Harbor Creek (Celeste Bentley/Brandon Slomski). The finals saw the Dragon pair of Boger and McGuinness win, 8-5.

Flight three doubles was won by junior Max Gross and sophomore Clark Eason. The pair had defeated Harbor Creek, 8-2, and Olean, 8-2, to qualify for the finals. The other finalists were the Dragon pair of junior Eric Cecco and senior Neil Morrison. They earned their way to the finals with an 8-4 win over Harbor Creek (Jacob Van Slyke and Andy Egger) and another 8-4 win over Olean. In the finals, “Both Dragon pairs played exceptionally well,” said Warren assistant coach Tim Sandberg. The team of Gross and Eason prevailed by an 8-3 pro-set win.

Flight four doubles had similar results in that two Warren pairs ended up in the finals. The pair of sophomore Justin Waterfield and junior Teddy Leos earned their trip to the finals with a pair of 8-1 wins over Harbor Creek and Olean. The other Warren pair was Darren Liu and partner Nick Pellegrino as they defeated both Harbor Creek (Carmen Young/Colin Babbitt) and Olean by 8-0 scores.

“Liu & Pellegrino were down 1-4 before staging a great comeback championship win by an 8-6 margin,” said Warren assistant coach John Parroccini.

Flight five doubles featured three Warren doubles pairs and one team from Harbor Creek. Winning the event was senior Derek Hanlin and Dragon standout swimmer Logan Gearhart. The pair defeated Harbor Creek, 8-3, then first-year Dragons Spencer Zaffino and freshman Ryan McGuinness by 8-5 score. The other finalists were Dragons Mason Mohney and Kim Parroccini, who had defeated Harbor Creek, 8-2 (Morgan Pelinsky/Emily Gowen), then Zaffino/McGuinness by an 8-4 score. The finals between the Dragon pairs saw Hanlin/Gearhart prevail by an 8-5 score.

“This special tournament enables us to get all of our players into competition,” said Warren coach Jeff Bartsch. “After weeks of drills and practice, it is nice to see all of our players in competitive match play.”

The Dragons are 5-0 on the season, and 1-0 in region play, and will host Rocky Grove on Monday, Titusville on Tuesday, and will travel to Johnsonburg on Wednesday.