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South Aiken Wins AAAA State Tennis Title While Christ Church Dominates In AA

South Aiken Wins AAAA State Tennis Title While Christ Church Dominates In AA

By CHRIS DEARING

Special Contributor

CAYCE, SC - South Aiken coach Rakesh Jasani had the players he wanted on the court with the state championship on the line on May, 17 at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center.

Brothers Alex and Aaron Sklizovic won three of the four points for the Thoroughbreds, including the decisive doubles point in leading South Aiken to a 4-3 victory over A.C. Flora in the Class AAAA boys tennis title in a match that took over three hours to complete.

Senior Alex Sklizovic, the state individual champion who is going to USC-Aiken next season, easily won at No. 1 singles while junior Aaron Sklizovic won at number No. 2 singles before they teamed to win  at No. 1 doubles with a 6-0, 6-4 victory.

““They’ve been my horses for a while now,” said Jasani.  “When the match is on the line you couldn’t ask for two better guys out there. They’ve busted their butts all year. Alex got these guys pumped up and him winning the individual sort of gave us momentum coming into today. It was a total team effort today.”

Alex Sklizovic couldn’t think of a better way to end his senior season.

“It’s been a long time coming and I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way than playing with my brother,” said Alex Sklizovic. “It’s the best things that could have happened. It’s indescribable really.”

South Aiken (19-0) lost the last three Class AAAA finals to Spartanburg but finally returned to the top for the first time since 2013.

“It all hasn’t really set in,” said Jasani. “We’ve been here five straight years and these kids keep bouncing back after suffering three straight losses. We felt we could get back here. We know the feeling leaving this park disappointed but the kids fought today. I couldn’t be more proud.”

A.C. Flora (16-2) was also making its fourth straight trip to the finals. The Falcons lost in 2014, won it all in 2015 and lost last season – all in class 3A. After moving up because of the South Carolina High School League created five classifications, they came up just short again.

Coach Amy Martin couldn’t fault the effort.

“I’m very proud of these boys. To get this far and lose 4-3 is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Martin. “We had a taste of winning it all two years ago and you always want to get back to that but we came up just a little short today.”

South Aiken led 3-2 after the five singles matches. Thane Tiffany won at No. 3 singles to join the Sklizovic brothers. A.C. Flora got wins from Alex Nichols and Michael Davis at No. 4 and 5 singles respectively to extend the match to doubles.

But it wasn’t enough to hold off the Thoroughbreds and the Sklizovic brothers.

South Aiken 4, A.C. Flora 3

Singles: Alex Sklizovic (SA) d. Lucas McClamrock 6-1, 6-1; Aaron Sklizovic (SA) d. Zach Kirkland 6-3, 7-5; Thane Tiffany (SA) d. Hal Fant 6-0, 6-3; Alex Echols (ACF) d. Pate Rowan 5-7, 6-3, 10-8; Michael Davis (ACF) d. Christian Rogerson 6-3, 6-1. Doubles: Sklizovic/Sklizovic (SA) d. McClamrock/Kirkland 6-0, 6-4; Talley Moorman/Robert Echols (ACF) d. Sebastian Rogerson/Ethan Ploege

 Christ Church 6, Academic Magnet 0 In AA Action

Christ Church coach Rocky Thomason was on the first Cavaliers team that won a boys state tennis championship and he was able to repeat that feat in his first-year coaching at his alma mater.

Christ Church swept defending state champion Academic Magnet 6-0 May, 17 at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center to win the Class AA state title in a match delayed from Saturday.

It’s a state record 25th title for the Cavaliers but first since 2013.

“It feels good,” said Thomason. “I was part of the team that won the first state championship. It’s been a great history in boy’s tennis. It’s really exciting to win the 25th one since it’s been four years since we won one.”

The Cavaliers weren’t challenged in the six matches played. Nobody dropped more than two games in a set. Senior Wes Quattlebaum, the No. 1 singles player who played as an 8th grader on the 2013 team, cruised in his match 6-1, 6-0 over Michael Pi.

Quattlebaum, who will walk on at Clemson, was glad to bring a title back to Christ Church.

“Every high school athlete dreams of having a state championship and I’ve been luckily enough to get two of them,” Quattlebaum said as he was surrounded by his teammates. “To be able to lead my team to a state championship is one of the greatest honors anyone could ask for.”

Ric Philpot, Jackson Houser, Earle Russell, Chase Garrett and the doubles team of Sam Russell and Richmond Mayher were the other winners for the Cavaliers.

“Our guys have improved a lot.” said Thomason. “Our depth has improved a lot. Plus a few of their better players didn’t come back and play for whatever reason. Our guys played rock solid.”

Academic Magnet only had one returning players from last year’s title team.

“This is a very young team and the talent is evenly distributed,” said Academic Magnet coach Andrea Langley. “We didn’t have the firepower Christ Church had. That’s a very good team but our guys have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Christ Church 6, Academic Magnet 0

Singles: Wes Quattlebaum d. Michael Pi 6-1, 6-0; Ric Philpot d. Chris Moss 6-2, 6-0. Jackson Houser d. Andrew Demetre 6-1, 6-1; Earle Russell d. Forrest Moon 6-2, 6-1; Chase Garrett d. Jack McFee 6-1, 6-2. Doubles: Sam Russell/Richmond Mayher d. Kyle Smith/John Conley 6-0, 6-2.

 


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