Paris tennis finished off their winning season of 12-8 and 6-3 in the LIC, with a tough sectional visit to Champaign last Friday. Paris Head Coach Stefan Aydt noted the difference in competition between their usual southern bracket destination. “This year was the first time in maybe 15-20 years we didn’t matchup with teams to the south of us, which was an unfortunate switch. IHSA tennis is technically a two class sport, so there are plenty of large schools who are in the same class as us and we had to go up against several of them.”
He added, "However, I thought we did our best with a less than ideal situation. Everyone played hard and had at least one close set in their matches.” Urbana University placed first with 26 points, followed by St. Thomas More with 22, and Urbana with 18. Paris managed 4 points, just two points however behind Champaign Central and Champaign Centennial.
Jacob Randolph picked up the only win for the day. The coaches agreed to make him the fifth seed by virtue of his record, and also based on the fact that he was a state qualifier from the Casey sectional last year. This earned him a first round bye before he picked up a win over Isaiah Elts of Champaign Central in what might have been the most dominant match of his career. Not only did he win 6-0, 6-0 win, but he only lost around 10 points in the entire match.
The win earned him a matchup with Thomas Scaggs, the top player from Champaign Centennial and a third seed in the tournament, with the winner earning a trip to state. Both players played strong tennis, but Scaggs presented a tough matchup for Randolph because of the depth and height of his shots, which kept him from approaching the net which is his best strategy to win points, eventually downing Randolph in a 6-1 sweep.
All three of our other entries had to play their first match against University High and St. Thomas More, the top two teams in the sectional. Ethan Graham gave Pardeshi of University High a tight first set. Graham won a lot of points at the net, but Pardeshi did a good job using angles and pace to win points, defeating Watson 6-4, 6-2.
In doubles, Nathan Minnis and Tanner Clark drew the sixth seed in the tournament, against St. Thomas More. The first set was back and forth, with the Tigers’ twosome taking advantage of some errors to take an early lead. St. Thomas More came back from fighting off set points in the first set to win 7-5, 6-0. Noah Holzer and Caleb Lawson also drew yet another St. Thomas More doubles team, and struggled in the first set, before making things close in the second to fall 6-1, 6-4.