Franklin Regional boys tennis claims share of section crown
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Franklin Regional boys tennis team watched the last three seasons as local rival Penn-Trafford wrested away control of the section the Panthers used to dominate.
Last week, the Panthers reclaimed the top spot.
Franklin Regional (13-2, 12-2) won a share of the Section 1-AAA championship by virtue of a 4-1 victory over three-time defending champion Penn-Trafford (11-3, 11-3). The Panthers shared the section title with Latrobe, which also finished with a 12-2 section record. The Panthers also beat Latrobe last week by a 3-2 score.
It marks Franklin Regional's first section championship since 2010.
“It's something that has eluded us,” coach Howard Fisher said. “We've had talented teams, but we're in a section with a lot of parity. That's what makes this so special. We didn't run away with the match today; P-T was a very important competitor, and they played extremely well.”
Franklin Regional will open the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs with a home match against Chartiers Valley on Thursday.
The Panthers' victory over Penn-Trafford completed an undefeated second half of section play. The team was 5-2 at midseason, with the losses coming to Latrobe and Penn-Trafford.
“There were a couple changes to the lineup, but more than anything it was just our mental game (improving),” said senior Rohan Hattangady, the team's No. 2 singles player. “At the beginning of the season, we weren't really focused and we didn't really have expectations of going undefeated the whole season. But the second half through we knew we could do it, and especially all the seniors wanted the section title.”
Franklin Regional is also playing in support of two teammates who were stabbed in the April 9 incident at the high school that left 21 people injured. Connor Warwick began the season as a starter at doubles for the Panthers, while Greg Keener plays for the junior varsity team.
In the absence of Warwick and Keener, the Franklin Regional players are wearing shirts with the message of “Pray4Greg” and “Pray4Connor.”
“They can't play, which is so sad,” said senior Alex Sebastian, the Panthers' No. 3 singles player. “It's kind of been motivating, what happened. I think it helped my performance; it was definitely a boost because we were playing for them.”
The Panthers' singles players led the team for much of the season and swept Penn-Trafford's singles players last week. At No. 1 singles, sophomore Rochan Ramesh knocked off Penn-Trafford senior Cullen Price, a four-time WPIAL qualifier, in a match that lasted more than two hours.
“I never thought this would happen right now,” Ramesh said. “I just went out there and played my hardest. I changed my strategy a little bit, which I think helped me win this.”
Fisher said the Panthers' doubles teams also solidified in the second half of the season.
The Panthers competed in the playoffs last season, and the players said they thought their experience could help them in this year's postseason.
“We're going to go in optimistic,” Fisher said. “Obviously, we want to try and do our very best. We realize we're going to be playing the very best teams in southwestern Pennsylvania, but I think we're encouraged by the way we're playing right now and we're willing to do the very best we can. We're hoping for the best. I think we're positively optimistic right now about our first-round match.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pouliot scores in NHL debut as Penguins tame Panthers
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
- Sony hack signals new, public front in cyber warfare
- IBM’s Watson supercomputing system to be applied to PTSD
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Jeannette company’s miniature steam engines coveted for decades
- South Fayette football team distributes Steelers tickets to Carlynton, Wilkinsburg
- Energy sector adjusts to global oil plummet
- Steelers’ Bell, Chiefs’ Charles elevating running back position in NFL
- Chiefs game-plan play that suits speedy rookie Thomas’ talents