The Medina Doubles Tournament is a day the Saint Ignatius tennis team looks forward to every year.
The Wildcats get a chance to battle some of the best competition in Northeast Ohio at the premier tournament, and have the opportunity to play in different pairs. Singles players who play solo receive the chance to play with a teammate they wouldn't have the chance to play with otherwise.
The Tennis Cats fully enjoyed the opportunity and a full day of competition on Saturday, winning all four brackets of the tournament.
In the top bracket, the Wildcats' current No. 1 and No. 2 singles players – Nate Day and Kai Vesikallio – worked together. The sophomore-freshman duo played expertly throughout the tournament. Day and Vesikallio started the afternoon with a 6-3, 6-0 conquest of Copley's top duo. In the second round, the Wildcats' top pair downed Medina's duo, 6-2, 6-1. Day and Vesikallio kept on rolling in the finals, overcoming Highland, 6-2, 6-1.
The two seniors on the Wildcats' roster, Jack McNally and Drew Barclay, paired up in the second bracket. The dynamic duo rolled in the first two rounds, besting teams from Ashland and Highland. McNally and Barclay matched up with Noah Porter and Sam Hanna of Wadsworth in the final. Hanna's older brother, AJ, an assistant coach and a teacher at Wadsworth, happens to be married to Erin Hanna, a wonderful math teacher at Saint Ignatius.
In a fierce battle, the Wildcats emerged with the win. Porter and Hanna played expertly and skillfully, but McNally and Barclay managed to tally a 6-4, 6-3 win to take the crown.
Kenny Li and Michael Nock, the Wildcats' typical No. 2 doubles duo, worked together in the third bracket. The sophomore-freshman combo defeated teams from Revere and Ashland en route to the championship bout. Li and Nock faced a very strong Copley team in the final. The Wildcats captured the first set, 6-2, before Copley rebounded with a 6-4 win in the second set. In the rubber match, Li and Nock found a way to win, clinching a 10-5 victory.
In the fourth bracket, two Wildcat sophomores teamed up. Jack Burns and Arul Mehta upended squads from Highland and Ashland to advance to the finals. Wadsworth's strong team posed a tough test for Burns and Mehta, but the Wildcat duo carded a 6-4, 6-2 win for the title.
"We had a great day yesterday, sweeping all four brackets," said Head Coach Bobbe Bennett. "This tournament is a great opportunity for the guys to mix it up and play with a different teammate they would not usually team up with so it’s a lot of fun and great competition this year."
Moving forward, the Wildcats' next scheduled match is tentatively set for Tuesday vs. Hawken at Magnificat. Monday's varsity contest vs. Kenston has been postponed, though JV is currently still slated to host Kenston at Magnificat on Monday.