The Vero Beach women’s tennis team was the only area program to qualify for the FHSAA State Tennis Championships on Thursday afternoon, beating Lake Nona 4-0.
Starting the regional final with a doubles game, Vero’s No. 1 duo of junior Grace Levelston and senior Manuela Van Cotthem easily took down Elietta Said and Gaby Almanza 6-2, 6-0.
At doubles No. 2, Vero Beach juniors Elise Hepburn and Katherine Earnest had to work a lot harder. Falling behind after dropping the first set to Sofia Orta and Hannah Blackman, Hepburn and Earnest dug deep winning the second set 6-3 and in the third set the tiebreaker continued its momentum and won 10 -7 to secure a valuable point.
Levelston and Van Cotthem made quick work of their singles matches with straight-set wins and now Vero Beach will look for success at the state tournament that begins April 27 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.
Two area teams came very close to joining the Vero Girls at state as the Martin County Boys and Okeechobee Girls each lost by scores of 4-3.
The Tigers were crushed by Melbourne, who won at No. 2-4 in singles and No. 2 in doubles. Dylan deWindt in singles No. 1, Luke Schmelzenbach in singles No. 5 and deWindt with his brother Jaden in doubles No. 1 picked up the win for Martin County.
The Brahmans were also cut by a team from Brevard County as Viera advance to the state tournament.
The Vero Beach boys were beaten 4-0 by Lake Nona.
All qualified singles and doubles players will start the state tournament with 1A and 3A starting April 25 and 2A and 4A starting April 27 at Sanlando Park as well as Red Bug Lake Park and Sylvan Lake Park in the greater Orlando area.
The region’s athletics stars win places in the region
The Sebastian River men’s track team finished fourth in Thursday’s 13-3A District Championship, with the Sharks picking up four wins.
Senior Jacori Clark swept the shot put and discus with the best scores of 14.39 and 46.81 meters and will enter the regional championship next week and is expected to go for the wins in every event.
Sophomore Noah McMann ran an impressive 2:00.44 to claim the 800 meter victory and teamed with seniors Jake Kramer and Javon Dawkins and sophomore Caleb Wilkinson to claim the victory in the 4×800 relay with a time of 8:17.42.
Jensen Beach junior Nic Colbert had a stellar day in the distance races, winning the 1,600 meter race with a time of 4:27.74 and backed that up with a victory in the 3,200 meter race in 9:45.30 for the Falcons.
The top four finishers in each event will advance to the Region 3-4A tie on May 6 at Miami’s Traz Powell Stadium.
The Rockledge boys and girls dominated the tag team title win, with the Heritage teams both finishing second.
On Monday, area athletes also secured spots for regionals at the District 13-1A Championship in Benjamin.
John Carroll Catholic senior Cody Menke won the shot put with a mark of 15.76 meters and took second place in the discus.
Pine School eighth grader Emerson Brinn won the pole vault with a best score of 2.55 meters for the Knights.
Other area athletes finished second as John Carroll’s Catholic Senior Prince Strachan was second in the 400 meters, Pine School’s Girls’ 4×800 Relay Team was second and John Carroll’s Catholic sophomore , Paige Lalicon, finished second in the javelin.
The top four will face off in the Region 4-1A matchup on May 4 at Southridge Park in Miami.
Fort Pierce Central 13, Lincoln Park Academy 12 (OT): Adrienne Rivera and Alyssa Llanos connected for an overtime touchdown and Llanos had a potential conversion to help the Cobras (10-5) surpass their highest win total in program history. Rivera had 173 all-purpose yards and added a rushing touchdown and on defense, Ariel Williams had nine flag pulls, four of which were wasted and added two sacks, and Alexiah Cruz had eight flag pulls for Fort Pierce Central.
Leah Murphy threw for 202 yards and a touchdown, Faith Hall had a touchdown and Lahela Cornett had seven catches for 78 yards and an interception for Lincoln Park.
Jensen Beach 37, Dwyer 6: Courtney Cromer threw for 252 yards and five touchdowns and Lauren Duke caught touchdowns for 70, 55, 11 and five yards to lead the way for the Falcons (12-3). Julia Thurlow added a touchdown, Bella Faherty had a punt return for a touchdown and on defense, Mia Quiles and Grace Bauer each had an interception for Jensen Beach.
Jensen Beach 11, Martin County 1 (5 innings): Mallory Wheeler went 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI and allowed one hit and struck out three in a full game in the circle for the Falcons (6-8). Lus Segura went 3-for-3 with an RBI, Mackenzie Pflaum had a three-run triple, Shawna McNair and Kylie Antoon each had two hits, and Annalize Buncy had a double and an RBI for Jensen Beach.
Bayli Legg had the lone hit of the game for Martin County.
Sebastian River 7, John Carroll Catholic 2: Lily Seay struck out seven in four shutout innings and Victoria Wehrberger pitched the last three innings as they combined for a hit for the Sharks (10-5). Jasmin Huber went 2 for 4 with three RBIs, Alyvia Villars had two hits and an RBI and Maileigh Kincaid had a double and an RBI for Sebastian River.
Isabella Hernandez had the only hit of the game for John Carroll.