Henry Clay boys, LCA girls win

Tates Creek's Grant Roberts and Lexington Catholic's Samantha Maddox breezed to victory and repeated as 11th Region singles champs in relative quiet on the main tennis courts at the University of Kentucky on Thursday.

There was plenty of noise accompanying the boys' doubles' finals, though, as Henry Clay and Lexington Catholic battled in a three-set thriller that decided the boys' team title.

Henry Clay's Dean Tsamas and Andrew Herring broke serve to decide the first and third sets and beat Ryne Least and Zack Lewis 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

"We came up big early and we came up big late. That's what won it for us," Herring said. "When we were aggressive, we played our best."

Students from both schools provided vocal support, whooping and hollering on almost every point.

"It was fun and competitive," Tsamas said.

If Lexington Catholic had won, it would have forced a team playoff for the region title. But the Knights couldn't duplicate their strong second-set performance.

"I thought we had some momentum after that, but it kind of went downhill from there," Least said.

Henry Clay took the boys' team title for the fourth year in a row. Joining Tsamas and Herring at next week's state tournament at UK will be teammates David and Michael Sotto in doubles, and Brad Merchant and Thomas Hanna in singles.

Lexington Christian Academy captured the girls' region title for the fourth time in five years.

The Eagles' Elle Coldiron and McKinley Mason repeated as doubles champs, beating Henry Clay's Elise DeCamp and Claire Mielcarek 6-3, 6-0.

Being favored didn't ease the burden on the LCA duo. "Everybody's good in this region, so the pressure is on every match and you've gotta try really hard," Mason said.

LCA's state tournament team will also include doubles partners Abby Dorton and Shelby Eden, and singles players Lindsey Pickett and Ann Marie Lyon.

Lyon lost to Maddox in the singles finals 6-0, 6-2.

Maddox used last year's region title as a springboard to a state runner-up finish.

The Lexington Catholic sophomore hopes to go a step farther this time around.

"Last year was my first experience playing in the state, so I got the feel of the pressure and the crowd against you, and playing hard even when you're down," Maddox said. "Obviously, I'd love to win it this year."

Roberts hopes he can recapture whatever it was that had him at the top of his game in Thursday's finals.

The Tates Creek junior left-hander surprised even himself by blowing by LCA's Colby Shaw 6-1, 6-0. Shaw was region champ in 2007.

"I wasn't expecting to play this well," Roberts said. "We've played each other a bunch over the years, and it's usually really close, almost always three sets.

"I'm not sure why I played so well. It just happened."

Tates Creek Coach Luna Helton was impressed.

"Some of the shots Grant hit today had the other player in awe," she said. "But he played well all week. He only lost four total games in four matches. That's amazing."

Shaw will get a chance for redemption next week, as will all the runners-up.

Also qualifying for the state tournament were Kathryn Hays of Paul Dunbar in singles; Kelsey Chatham and Stephanie Daetwyler of Scott County in doubles, and Scott Layton and Zach Meikle of West Jessamine in doubles.