By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — The choice for the area’s top singles players to team up in doubles for the sectional tournament becomes more and more popular every year.
It’s easy to see why.
Milton-Union’s teams of Nathan and Nick Brumbaugh as well as Peyton Brown and Jake Swafford — three of which were singles players during the regular season — and Tippecanoe’s Colin Achterberg and Christopher Nichols — the Red Devils’ first and second singles players — all advanced to next week’s district tournament in doubles at the Division II sectional tournament Tuesday at Troy High School. And Tippecanoe’s regular first doubles team of Levi Berning and David Shininger, entering the tournament unseeded, made it a clean sweep by the two schools, knocking off the No. 2 seed to advance to Saturday’s sectional semifinals, as well.
It’s the third season in a row that the Brumbaughs — who earned the No. 1 seed — have played together at doubles in the sectional tournament after primarily playing singles. Last year, the duo qualified for the state tournament.
Tuesday, they cruised into Saturday’s sectional semifinals, defeating Greenon’s Erik Collingsworth and Bryant Rudy 6-0, 6-0 and Northwestern’s Christopher and Matthew Hart 6-0, 6-0 to ensure another trip to the district tournament.
Meanwhile, Peyton Brown — the team’s third singles player during the regular season — and Jake Swafford, one-half of the first doubles team, earned the No. 4 seed coming into the tournament and battled their way through two tough matches on Tuesday. First, they outlasted Greenville’s Branson Leigeber and Josh Galloway in two tough sets, 7-5, 7-6 (5), then they held off Lehman’s Danny Lins and Sam Gilardi to win 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 to advance to next week’s district tournament.
“They both pulled it out,” Milton-Union coach Roger Davidson said. “Everyone played well. Peyton and Jake had two tough matches, two tough, long matches on one of the hottest days we’ve had. But they all played hard.
“We’ve got more work to do now, because everything changes. Now it’s all the luck of the draw. It’s always tough with the Cincinnati schools (at the district tournament). Their four seeds are even tough. You never know what you’re going to get.”
Tippecanoe’s Colin Achterberg and Christopher Nichols are no strangers to playing doubles together, either. Last year, the duo was unseeded yet qualified for the district tournament in third place. This season, Achterberg and Nichols earned the No. 3 seed entering the sectional, did not take a first-round bye and won three matches Tuesday to qualify for a second season in a row.
First, they defeated Greenville’s Pablo Badell and Eric Price 6-2, 6-0, then they defeated Lehman’s Cole Kramer and Sean Toner 6-0, 6-1. Achterberg and Nichols then finished the day with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Urbana’s Ethan Burnside and Jacob Coffey to advance to Saturday’s semifinals, where they will face the top-seeded Brumbaughs.
And Berning and Shininger recovered from a slow start in their first match of the day to make a statement, looking to prove that they had deserved one of the four seeds. After a 7-5, 6-0 win over Brookville’s Brzozowski and Bench in the first round, they didn’t lose a game the rest of the way, defeating Northridge’s C McCormick and S Wilson 6-0, 6-0 and then obliterating the No. 2 seed, Northwestern’s Camron Smyzcek and Nathan Wildofsky — the Warriors’ first and second singles players during the season — 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals to qualify for the district tournament.
“To be honest, I feel like we did a good enough job to prepare for this all season long,” Tippecanoe coach Kaci Matthew said. “Playing in the Greater Western Ohio Conference obviously helps with the level of competition that we have to play with all year, and I think it really helped us in this tournament. I’m happy that we got two teams to the district tournament — it’s been three years since we got both boys doubles teams to district.”
In singles, Tippecanoe’s Blake Moran reached the quarterfinals but couldn’t punch a ticket to the district tournament. He defeated Greenville’s Jiahou Zhang 6-1, 6-1 and Lehman’s Elijah Jock 6-1, 6-1 before taking on the No. 4 seed, Yellow Springs’ Forrest Rowe, losing to Rowe 6-2, 6-0.
Jack Thompson defeated Lehman’s Elias Bezy 6-2, 6-4 then lost to Urbana’s Ethan Headlee 6-4, 6-3. Luke Blake defeated Urbana’s Kyle Rooney 6-1, 6-2 then lost to Greenon’s Andrew Conover, the No. 2 seed, 6-2, 6-0.
For Milton-Union in singles play, Caleb Wintrow lost to Northwestern’s Luke Macy 6-2, 6-1. Luke Barnes lost to Lehman’s Jock 6-2, 6-1. Will Morris lost to Yellow Springs’ Ian Sherk 6-1, 6-4.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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