Prep tennis: Barron Collier sweeps boys, girls state titles

For the second straight year, Barron Collier swept both the boys and girls tennis state championships.

The Cougars’ boys team wrapped up its fourth straight title Tuesday at the Class 3A state finals in Altamonte Springs. The girls had to win all four of their matches on the final day of competition to win their second straight title and third overall.

“Coming in (Tuesday) everything had to go our way,” Barron Collier girls coach Nancy Geiman said. “It did, but it wasn’t luck. It was skill.”

Also on Tuesday, Naples High’s Nikki Kallenberg won the 3A individual singles state title. Gulf Coast’s team of Chris Barrus and Billy Shisler won the 3A individual doubles title.

For Barron Collier, Anastasia Kondrasov won the team No. 1 singles draw, while Shannon Etten won the title at No. 2. The two teamed up in No. 1 doubles to win their semifinal and finals matches. The four match victories gave the Cougars four team points and a one-point edge over second place.

Etten, a senior who will play at Rollins College next year, had to battle to win at No. 2 singles. She won 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 over Jensen Beach’s Marnie Stokes in a match Geiman called a masterpiece.

Then in the doubles finals, Etten and Kondrasov fell behind 0-2 in the first set before beating Jensen Beach’s duo 7-5, 6-0. Had Jensen Beach won its two matches against Barron Collier, it would have edged the Cougars for the state title.

“Anastasia and I got together and said, ‘We’re going to play our hardest, and whatever happens happens,” Etten said. “We started off shaky ... but once we got our doubles game plan in mind we started cruising.”

The Barron Collier boys won five of the seven singles and doubles draws to finish with 18 points, well ahead of Gainesville with 12. Though the margin looks big, the Cougars had to beat Gainesville in four finals to seal the state titles.

“It ended up being a blowout, but it really wasn’t a blowout,” boys coach Eric Manring said. “If we hadn’t have won that (No. 2) singles match, it could have been a lot different.

Sophomore Alan Sweet beat his Gainesville opponent in three sets to win the title at No. 2. The victory gave Barron Collier a comfortable cushion going into doubles, where the Cougars beat Gainesville in both finals.

Mike Raymond (No. 4) and Alejandro Vargas (No. 5) won their singles draws. Jorge Vargas and Sweet won the team title at No. 1 doubles, while Paul Johnson and Doug Small won at No. 2 doubles.

Kallenberg won her third straight individual singles title on Tuesday. A junior, Kallenberg’s only loss in her high school career came in the overall singles final her freshman year.

The individual singles champion, Kallenberg, plays the team singles champion, Kondrasov, today for the overall title. Kallenberg has beaten Kondrasov twice this season.

“I think I played really well,” said Kallenberg, who lost just 12 games in three straight-set victories at state. “(Kondrasov) will be tough, but I’m excited to play her again.”

For Gulf Coast, Barrus and Shisler continued their undefeated season with a 6-3, 6-2 win over the No. 1 doubles team from Pensacola-Washington. The Sharks face Barron’s top doubles team, Vargas and Sweet, today for the overall title.

Barron Collier became the seventh boys tennis team to win at least four straight Florida High School Athletic Association championships. Coral Gables holds the record with nine straight championships from 1951 to 1959.

It is the Cougar boys ninth state title overall, tying Bradenton Prep for third most in state history. Barron has won seven championships the past nine years.

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