Sewickley Academy's Gex brothers capture 2nd straight section doubles title
Brothers Don and Ryan Gex don't get to play doubles together much on the Sewickley Academy boys tennis team.
But when they do, the results have been positive.
The two were favored to defend their WPIAL Class AA title Monday and Tuesday after winning the Section 4-AA crown for the second consecutive season last week.
Don, a senior, and Ryan, a junior, beat teammates Neil Rana and Brian Rosario in the final, 6-1, 7-5.
Rana, a junior, and Rosario, a senior, also qualified for the WPIAL tournament.
Ryan Gex has played in singles and his brother has competed in doubles in team matches for the Panthers, who are 8-0 in Section 4-AA and favored to win their 13th consecutive WPIAL title.
The two, who live in Sewickley Heights, said they enjoy playing together and that it helps they are related.
“We communicate extremely well so we know where to be,” said Ryan, 17. “We are together at home a lot and there are times when we do talk about tennis and strategy, such as where to be positioned at the net.”
“We really know each other and (complement) each other well in our styles of pay,” said Don, 18, who is considering playing club or intramural tennis in college next season.
The duo was impressive at the section tournament. After a first-round bye, they shut out their opponent in the quarterfinals, then won their semifinal and final matches each in two sets.
Don said they focused on improving after being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the state tournament last season.
“Coming off our loss, we knew there were things we needed to work on in both of our games,” he said.
Sewickley Academy coach Whitney Snyder is impressed by the siblings.
“There is a real trust with the two of them,” said. “They're good friends (and) two really respectful kids.”
Ryan said he and his brother try to set an example.
“I hope that we are not only improving our game, but we are improving our teammates' as well by providing them with good competition,” he said.
Rana, 16, of Ohio Township, said he liked meeting the pair in the section final.
“It was a fun match,” he said. “They're great players.”
Rana looked forward to returning to the WPIAL tournament after placing second with Wyatt Geller last year.
“I feel comfortable playing with Brian (Rosario),” he said. “My playing style has meshed well with his so it has been easy to adjust to playing with him instead of Wyatt.”
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.