Thursday proved to be a mixed day for the Wildcats at the District Tournament.
On the positive side, several Wildcats will have an opportunity on Saturday to qualify for the State Tournament. On the flipside, the Wildcats experienced upset losses.
Nate Day provided the major highlight of the day for the Tennis Cats. The sophomore experienced a tough first-round match but emerged with a victory. Day matched up with Spencer Krantz, another talented second-year player out of University School. Day tallied a 6-3 win in the first set before Krantz stole the second set, forcing a tiebreaker. In a hard-fought third set, Day came out on top. The talented Wildcat earned a 6-2 conquest to move onto the quarterfinals.
Day's luck ran out in the quarterfinals. Logan Langovsky, the Canton Sectional Champ, battled past Day. The senior out of Green eked out a 7-5 win in the first set. Langovsky made adjustments and enjoyed an easier path in the second set, conquering Day, 6-1.
Day still has the chance to qualify for States, as the top six make it out of Districts. Day does need to win his first match on Saturday, however. Grant Jones of Roosevelt will stand in Day's way.
On the other side of the singles bracket, Arjun Brahmbhatt experienced a heartbreaking defeat. The junior drew Aaron Lee of Solon in the first round, a tough foe. Brahmbhatt fell in the first set, 6-2, before roaring back in the second stanza. Brahmbhatt earned a 6-3 victory to force a tiebreaking third set. Brahmbhatt's heroic efforts fell just short in the third, as Lee squeezed by with a 7-5 win. Brahmbhatt's season ended unfortunately with the loss.
Drew Barclay also saw his season end, along with his Saint Ignatius tennis career. Matching up against Roosevelt's Jones, Day fought hard. But the top seed out of the Medina bracket proved to be too much. Barclay succumbed to Jones in the first set, 6-3, and again in the second set, 6-2.
The loss does not take away from Barclay's special senior season and his awesome career at Saint Ignatius.
Kenny Li and Thomas Deucher tasted a similarly bitter defeat in the doubles bracket. The sophomore-junior combo lost to a brother duo of Anthony and Alex Payiavias of Warren G. Harding on Thursday. Li and Deucher dropped the first set, 6-1, before making adjustments in the second set. The strategies nearly paid off, but Payiavias just managed to sneak past Li and Deucher, 6-4. Look for both Li and Deucher to be back next year, better than ever.
Jack McNally and Kai Vesikallio found the secret sauce in the opening round, surviving to the second round. The senior-freshman combo toppled a tough duo of Grant Mountain and Max McNeal of Kenston. The Wildcats surged to a 6-3 win in the first set before narrowly dropping a 7-6 loss in the second set. In the tiebreaker set, McNally and Vesikallio left no doubt, rolling to a 6-2 conquest.
The long match left the Wildcats at a disadvantage, as North Canton Hoover's Matt Warburton and Jacob Wood. McNally and Vesikallio experienced a difficult defeat to the Vikings, 6-3 and 6-1.
However, thanks to the first-round win, McNally and Vesikallio do still have a chance to qualify for States. The dynamic duo will battle Revere's Raj and Ram Kumar. The seniors defeated Westlake's duo in the first round before losing to top-seeded Charlie Joranko and Ben Martin of University School.
The District Tournament will wrap up on Saturday at Springside Racquet & Fitness Club in Akron.