Columbus Academy boys tennis coach Jeff Warstler decided to pair senior Abram Schottenstein and freshman Jacob Wareti during the postseason, believing the duo could do something special.
Schottenstein and Wareti backed up Warstler's decision by winning the Division II state doubles championship June 1.
They defeated Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy's Colin Kenney and Ben Wittkugel 6-1, 6-4 in the final at Ohio State.
"We've been working really hard," Schottenstein said. "We started practicing specifically for doubles on top of our school practice about a month ago and it definitely feels good to know that our work was put in for something. It's nice to go out on a high note."
"You couldn't ask for nicer kids," Warstler said. "They earned it."
Academy's weekend also included a second-place finish in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association state team tournament June 2 at Reynoldsburg.
The Vikings defeated Cincinnati Summit Country Day 3-2 in a semifinal before losing to Lexington 3-2 in the final.
Against Summit Country Day, winners for Academy were Evan Alexander 7-5, 6-0 at third singles, Ryan Jung and Dean Firouzian 6-1, 6-4 at first doubles and Ezer Smith and Shrikar Kundur 6-2, 6-3 at second doubles.
Against Lexington, winners were Schottenstein 6-1, 6-2 at second singles and Alexander 6-1, 6-0 at third singles.
"We had a good weekend," Warstler said. "I feel bad because those kids invest so much into that to come so close and have it slip through your fingers a little bit is a shame, but we move on. We just keep going."
In the individual tournament, Schottenstein and Wareti broke the Eagles' serve to begin the final and opened a 4-0 lead on their way to winning the first set.
They led 4-1 in the second set before Kenney and Wittkugel closed to 5-4, but the Vikings won the final game to secure the title.
Schottenstein and Wareti are the team's first state champions since 2010, when Andrew Enslen and Chad Buchanan defeated teammates Eoghan Bahnson and Langston Hughes 6-3, 6-4 in the doubles final.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Schottenstein said. "It's always been a goal of mine to do this and it's so fun to do it with a good friend."
Schottenstein and Wareti opened the tournament by defeating Perry's Alex Guthrie and Dan Walker 6-1, 6-0 in the first round May 31 at the Elysium Tennis Center in Plain City. First-day action was moved indoors because of bad weather.
They also defeated Lexington's Jake Youse and Matt Youse 6-2, 6-2 in a quarterfinal May 31 and Cincinnati Indian Hill's Raghav Joshi and Will Jaroszewicz 6-2, 6-2 in a semifinal June 1.
"You always hope these things will happen," Wareti said of the title. "You always try to believe in it."
Alexander and Jung reached a doubles quarterfinal before losing to Kenney and Wittkugel 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3. They defeated Lima Shawnee's Jason Barton and Josh Thomas 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.
"We've had a lot of doubles champs and we've put a lot of doubles kids in the final four," Warstler said. "It just makes you feel good about the work you're doing. It makes the kids feel good about putting in that work and then coming out with something great. Everybody works hard, but they really busted to get to this point. It's nice to keep things going like this."
Boys, girls win regional track titles
The boys and girls track and field teams swept the titles in the Division III regional meet May 29 and 31 at Fairfield Union.
The boys won their third consecutive regional title, scoring 89 points to finish ahead of second-place Attica Seneca East (60) as 38 teams scored.
The top four in each event qualified for state Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, at Ohio State.
Senior Akaash Paladugu, who joined the team about four weeks ago, won the high jump (6 feet, 5 inches).
"Coach (Bob Kirk) and a couple friends from our basketball team got me out," Paladugu said. "I'd never tried (the high jump), never done it. I tried to come out last year, but didn't think it'd be a good fit and that was a stupidest decision I've ever made, so I just came out this year. It's my senior year, so I decided to go for it.
"I knew I was good at jumping, but I didn't think I was this good. It was so cool to win."
Aron Aziz, Logan Baker, Dominic Facciolla and Mitchell Tuckerman won the 3,200 relay (8 minutes, 11.82 seconds).
Jack Lint won the 300 hurdles (37.88) and long jump (20-9 1/2), placed second in the 110 hurdles (14.45) and was third in the high jump (6-3).
Tyler Gittins was second in the 300 hurdles (38.38) and Aziz, Facciolla, Baker and Gittins were second in the 1,600 relay (3:28.05).
Tuckerman was third in the 800 (1:57.8) and Facciolla was fourth in the 1,600 (4:31.57).
Last season, Academy won the state title with 64 points, ahead of second-place Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph (31).
The girls finished first (63) at regional ahead of second-place Reedsville Eastern (50) as 43 teams scored.
Andrea Ballinger, Elizabeth Falkenberg, Margaret Sutton and Julia Rizk won the 3,200 relay (9:43.49) and Aziza Corbett, Ballinger, Sutton and Rizk won the 1,600 relay (4:03.76).
Rizk also won the 1,600 (5:14.93) and 400 (53.83).
"Julia Rizk was a total all-star, winning the 1,600, coming back 45 minutes later to win the 400 and anchoring both the 3,200 and 1,600 relays," girls coach Kelly Parker said. "I couldn't have asked for more out of her."
Jillian Woodard was third in the long jump (16-1 1/4).
Finishing fourth were Sutton in the 800 (2:23.07) and Anjali Kanwar in the high jump (5-1).
"I'm very proud of how both teams showed up and competed," Parker said. "To take away both titles at district and regional helped build the confidence heading in to the state meet."