Winchester’s boys tennis team bagged another sectional championship in tennis Friday and will be trying to knock off 23rd-ranked Delta this evening at 5 p.m. in the Kokomo Regional.
The Falcons got past Randolph Southern in the opening round by winning four of five matches, then knocked out host Jay County in the championship round, also winning four of five matches.
In addition, Randolph Southern’s No. 1 doubles team of Colton Fisher and Jake Good – because they won their match against Winchester in the first round – are headed back to the regional for the second straight year.
Union City came close to advancing to the sectional finals, but lost 3-2 to Jay County.
Marion will face Lapel in the other regional matchup on Tuesday. The two winners meet on Wednesday for the right to advance to the state finals, something the Falcons – despite some great success over the years – have been unable to accomplish.
Against Randolph Southern in the first round, Winchester won every set in singles play and won 2-1 at No. 2 doubles. Alex Pegg at No. 1 singles defeated Southern’s Tyler Fink, Nick Dunica topped the Rebels’ Jake Misfud at No. 2 singles and Ross Culy at No. 3 singles took care of Southern’s Tyler Holguin.
The Falcons also won at No. 2 doubles where Drew Llod and Brennan Welch edged out Southern’s Hagen Gambrel and Ethan Haines, 2-1.
The Rebels did pick up a win at No. 1 doubles with Fisher and Good taking both sets from Winchester’s Grant Wagner and Levi Slusher. Fisher and Good, the Randolph County champs as well as the Mid-Eastern Conference champs, have been Southern’s strongest position throughout the season and head into the regional with a 14-6 record. They will face the top doubles team from Madison-Grant.
Union City was hoping to get back to the regional after an appearance in 2017, but came up one win short. The Indians had wins at number two singles, where Tanner Spence won in two sets, 6-3, 6-2, over the Patriots’ Simon Dirksen, and also won at No. 3 singles, where Cale Jefferis won 6-4, 6-4 over Jay County’s Christian Romero.
Union City Coach Doug Jefferis said he is not discouraged with the season, considering his team’s inexperience. “It was about what I expected,” he said. “We won some matches, and we lost some close matches.”
The Falcons nearly swept Jay County in the finals as Pegg topped Jay’s Crosby Heniser (2-1), Dunica swept the Patriots’ Dirksen (2-0), Culy blanked Jay’s Romero (2-0) and Loyd and Welch blanked the Patriots’ Franklin Crump and Darius Esparza (2-0) at No. 2 doubles. The Patriots had their lone win at No. 1 doubles where Sheldon Upp and Gavin Myers pulled out a 2-1 win over the Falcons’ Wagner and Slusher.
While all sectional champions advance to the regional as a team, any singles players at No. 1 or doubles players at the No. 1 position that did not lose in sectional play advance to the regional and continue on until they do lose.