Sewickley Academy's Ross captures Section 4-AA title
Sewickley Academy junior Luke Ross is back and eager to reclaim the title he won two years ago at the WPIAL Class AA boys tennis singles championship tournament, set for Monday and Tuesday.
Ross, the 2014 WPIAL champion, missed last season to train in Florida.
He qualified by beating Carlynton junior Luke Phillips, the defending WPIAL champion, 6-3, 6-2, in the Section 4-AA final April 5.
Sewickley Academy coach Whitney Snyder said Ross is “peaking at the right time” and looked forward to him qualifying for the state championship next month as WPIAL champion.
Ross was PIAA runner-up as a freshman.
“Luke played well,” Snyder said.
Ross, who is ranked among the top 200 junior tennis players in the nation, said it felt good to be back.
“My goals are the same,” he said. “Win WPIALs (and be state champion).”
Ross was happy to beat Phillips, who he said played well despite being hurt.
Phillips is recovering from a shoulder injury that forced him to serve underhand earlier in the season.
Ross was one of two Sewickley Academy players who qualified for the WPIAL tournament.
Junior Sam Sauter placed third at the section tournament.
Sauter downed Hopewell's Eli Loncar, 6-1, 6-0, in the consolation match after losing to Phillips in two sets in the semifinals.
Sauter was section and WPIAL runner-up to Phillips last year.
“I was somewhat disappointed about losing to Luke Phillips, but I did do a couple of things that showed a lot of promise in my game, which I am excited about,” Sauter said. “I want to make it to the finals, (which) will be possible if I can improve my forehand and get my first serve percentage up.”
Snyder agreed Sauter needs to get better.
“He has to be a little more patient and play a longer point,” he said.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.