COOKEVILLE — The Cleveland High School boys tennis team clinched the Region 3 Tennis (Team) Tournament championship Thursday in Cookeville against the undefeated Cookeville Cavaliers by the score of 4-2.
The Blue Raiders have completely dominated the District 5-AAA this season and kept their 2014 undefeated season intact.
This is the sixth Region 3 Tennis Championship under the leadership of Coach Elizabeth Davis. She has led the Blue Raider boys and girls squads to three team region championships during her nine-year tenure at the helm of the CHS tennis team.
Under the region team tournament format, teams play only five singles and two doubles matches compared to the regular season’s six singles and three doubles.
After singles matches were completed, the Blue Raiders were up 3-2 following a lengthy three-set win by Cleveland’s No. 4 player Kevin Harricaharran (6-7, 6-3, 6-4).
It was a very warm and breezy afternoon when the No. 1 doubles players Jake Gibson, who just suffered his first singles loss of the season to District 6 Champion Borja Pujol (0-6, 2-6), and Brandon Williams took the court. Williams was able to capture a win at the No. 2 spot (6-3, 6-1).
No. 3 Shivang Patel lost a hard fought battle (2-6, 4-6), while Adam Klibitz won the quickest match of the day (6-2, 6-3).
Just about the time Harricaharran won his singles match, things were really looking up for the Blue Raiders. Gibson and Williams were defeating the Cavaliers 6-3 in an eight-game set format.
Things quickly changed when the Cavalier's closed to within one game at 7-6. Williams and Gibson prevailed and locked up their doubles match with a win on Williams' serve. Capturing the final win sealed the region championship victory.
Coach Davis stated, “My boys played well today and left it all on the court. I’ve known all season they had the potential and ability; the question was just going to be if they could produce come tournament time.”
The Raiders will travel to Murfreesboro Thursday to face perennial tennis powerhouse Siegel. The winner of that match will advance to the TSSAA Spring Fling, which will be held in Murfreesboro May 19-23.
The Gibson/Williams duo will represent District 5 in the individual category of the Region 3 doubles competition to be held Monday in Cookeville. Other players on the Blue Raider squad included Vereen Patel, Brett Williams, Jonathan Chambenoit and Caleb Lee.