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Leahy, Jesuit take it all at Metro district tennis

Jesuit's Connor Leahy and Nick Biggi take the doubles championship
by: Miles Vance RELIEF — Jesuit senior Gram Leahy drops his racket and falls to his knees after scoring the last point to win the Metro League district singles title on Saturday at Tualatin Hills.

BEAVERTON - In a year that saw Jesuit's boys tennis team win the Metro League's dual meet crown for the seventh straight time, win the annual Jesuit-Metro-State Team Tennis Championship, and win its 71st straight league match, the Crusaders weren't about to leave anything on the table at the 2011 Metro District Tournament.

And indeed, Jesuit left nothing on the table at district, taking top honors in both singles and doubles play, winning the tournament with 64 points (Lincoln was far back in second at 24 points and Sunset third at 21), and grabbing six of the league's eight berths to the upcoming Class 6A state tournament.

The Metro League district tournament was held May 12 through Saturday at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center. The Class 6A state tournament opens at 9 a.m. today (Thursday) at Portland Tennis Center, and continues at 9 a.m. Friday at PTC, and at 9 a.m. Saturday at Tualatin Hills.

In singles play, second-seeded Jesuit senior Gram Leahy won his first Metro singles crown (he was a three-time Metro doubles champion) by battling past Lincoln freshman Goutham Sundaram 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday despite debilitating leg cramps late in the second set.

'It was pretty bad. I was walking stiff-legged and I couldn't bend it,' Leahy said. 'Thank God it didn't go another set.'

Leahy opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Aloha's Roy Bonner, beat Sunset's Matt Means 6-0, 6-2 in round two, took out teammate Alejundro Centerion 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinal, then beat another teammate - Jesuit's Mark Mallory - 6-4, 6-4 in his semifinal.

Sundaram, however - who upset top-seeded senior Peder Gram of Jesuit 6-3, 6-4 in his semifinal - pushed Leahy to the limit in the finale.

'It was definitely personal after he took out Pete so I wanted to take him down,' Leahy said. 'It's nice to go out on top. This is what you live for. It's a great feeling.'

Also headed to state in singles from the Metro League are Gram and Mallory - Gram beat Mallory 6-3, 6-1 in the tournament's third-place match.

The best singles finishers from the Metro's other five schools were Beaverton's Rosen Ilchev and Sunset's Max Lee, both of whom reached the tournament quarterfinals before being eliminated.

Jesuit was even tougher in doubles play, sending its two top-ranked teams into the tournament final, and winning three of the league's four doubles berths to this week's state tournament.

In the doubles championship, Jesuit's Nick Biggi and Connor Leahy rebounded from a first-set loss to battle past teammates Sam Stephenson and Nic Mulflur 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. After their win, Biggi and Leahy said they always knew that the final would be a big challenge.

'We love those guys,' Leahy said of Stephenson and Mulflur. 'Just playing against our own team … those guys push us every day. We knew it was going to be tough.'

'We played them a couple times in practice and it was always close,' Biggi said. 'It's not like they're just a team you're going to play in the first round of district - they're as tough as it gets.'

Leahy and Biggi, the second seeds, opened their tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Wrik Sinha and Adarsh Bhatt of Westview, swept Andre Do and Minh Lu of Westview 6-0, 6-0 in round two, knocked off teammates Carson Hall and Nick Muench 6-2, 6-0 in their quarterfinal, then swept another set of teammates - Nathan Lortz and Sam Malech - 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinal.

Stephenson and Mulflur, the top seeds, were just as good on their way to the final. They shut out Tanner Ross and Terry Fox of Aloha 6-0, 6-0 in round one, did the same to Sunset's David Choi and Abshishek Raol in round two, raced past Lincoln's Mac Hall and Spike Madden 6-1, 6-0, and drilled Sunset's Ian Paik and Brian McKittrick 6-1, 6-2 in their semi.

In the third-place match, Lortz and Malech won a tough three-setter over Paik and McKittrick 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Other quarterfinalists from the Beaverton area included Ranish Patel and Nikita Ivanov of Westview.