LIMA — It was a day for second chances at the Western Buckeye League boys tennis tournament Saturday.
No. 1 singles winner Alex Schroeder of Ottawa-Glandorf claimed that title after he was the runner-up in the WBL tourney last year.
And in No. 1 doubles, Celina’s Isaac Elston and Kris LeJeune also won a year after finishing second at the WBL.
Shawnee won the team title in the tournament and was the overall champion when the regular-season matches and the tournament were combined. Celina was the runner-up in both categories.
It is the Indians’ 20th boys tennis WBL championship, nine more than any other team in the league.
Schroeder defeated Shawnee’s Jason Barton 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to win the first singles title. Celina’s Aaron Seibel won the second singles 7-6, 7-5 over Shawnee’s Avinash Rajasekaran. In third singles, Shawnee’s Ruthvik Avari won 6-4, 6-4 over Ottawa-Glandorf’s Brandon Hempfling.
Elston and LeJeune defeated Shawnee’s Josh Thomas and Scott Jettinghoff 6-3, 6-2 in first doubles. In second doubles, Celina’s Keaton Mohler and Joel Weitz won 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 over Shawnee’s Carter Jones and Prudvi Battula.
Schroeder’s win over Barton came four days after the Shawnee player dominated the regular-season match between the two, winning 6-4, 6-1.
“It’s amazing, especially playing against a guy like Barton. He beat me during the year, he beat (Alex) Swick, a guy who is a state runner-up,” Schroeder said.
The O-G junior won the championship match’s first set 6-2 before Barton took the second set 7-5.
Barton, also a junior, went up 3-2 in the third set, but Schroeder broke Barton’s serve, then won the next game to take a 4-3 lead and went on to win 6-4.
He said emotion, along with tennis skills, carried him in the third set.
“The whole last set, I was just thinking about my friends who died the other day, Blake and Blaine. That’s what really made me play my best. I was really tuned in,” he said, referring to O-G students Blake and Blaine Romes.
“I didn’t change anything. I just played with all my heart,” he said.
Schroeder came into the tournament as the No. 3 seed behind Barton and Celina’s Alex Seibel.
In the first doubles match, Elston and LeJeune got off to a 4-0 lead in the first set and never looked back. They repeated a regular-season win over their Shawnee opponents, when they won 6-2, 6-1.
“Last year we weren’t really going for the title, we just wanted to do good,” Elston said. “Then this year we thought we could take it. We’ve been working out together all winter, practicing a lot.”
LeJeune said being strong on serves was one of the keys on Saturday and that jumping out to a quick lead was a confidence builder.
“It gave us a lot of confidence that we could execute on the big points,” he said.
Shawnee’s first-year coach Roy Gillespie was named WBL Coach of the Year and Alex Seibel won the league’s sportsmanship award.