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North boys tennis doubles team goes to states

By CHUCK BALLARO - | May 12, 2021


The North Fort Myers High School boys tennis team had one of its best seasons in years.

They made it to regionals as a team after a runner-up finish in districts and, most important, sent its No. 1 doubles team to states in a bit of an upset.

North finished second to Fort Myers in the District 3A-13 tournament, qualifying them for regionals, where they were defeated 4-1 by Barron Collier.

But it was the team of senior Sam Holmes and junior Ronald Wong that punched its ticket to states by winning the doubles tournament upsetting one of the top teams in the region in the district finals.

“We were pretty excited. They played really well. It’s the best team we’ve had in years and hopefully we’ll get more kids who can play tennis,” North coach Dianara Rivera Colon said.

On a day where Fort Myers was nearly perfect, Wong redeemed himself following a 6-1, 6-0 defeat by Fort Myers’ Tyler Carlin in the No. 1 finals, by him and Holmes stunning Carlin and Joseph Manibo 6-3, 6-2.

Holmes said nobody expected North tennis to be much of a factor at the start of the season, but they surprised a lot of people, especially down ballot.

“We didn’t know who our No. 4 and No. 5 players would be, but we had two new players come in and they played great all season.” Holmes said. “At districts, nobody expected us to win that match, but we both played better than we expected and we won it.”

Holmes lost the No. 2 singles finals to Samuel Smiley, the only player who defeated Holmes this season, 6-3, 6-0, Manibo downed Jacob Chouinard in the No. 3 finals and Rohan Shenoy defeated Harold Baez-De Sena in the No. 5 finals.

Winners in No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles in districts get an automatic berth to states.

At states, playing against one of the top teams in the state, Holmes and Wong were “double-bageled” in the opening round by eventual state champions Aiden Little and Thomas Navarro of Southeast.

“We got a bye in the first round, but the kids were played were crazy good. There was nothing we could do because they were insane,” Holmes said, who will continue to play club tennis at the University of Central Florida where he is looking to major in the STEM field.