Trevor Ball wasn't able to experience every memorable moment at his disposable last weekend given the limits of his body.

The final opportunity to celebrate, though, was available late in the afternoon May 26 at Elysium Tennis Center, and the junior for the Wellington School boys tennis team wasn't about to let it pass by.

Ball defeated Austin Arfaras of Youngstown Ursuline 6-0, 6-0 in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament to wrap up the Jaguars' 3-0 victory and their second consecutive Division II state team title.

"I was really sick (May 25), but I think I did a pretty good job of bouncing back to help the team out," Ball said. "I was just really feeling excited."

Ball was unable to complete a journey that he hoped would end with a Division II state singles title at the OHSAA tournament held May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center.

Ball beat Warren JFK's Armand Nannicola and Toledo Ottawa Hills' Matthew McGee both by a 6-1, 6-1 score on May 24 to advance to a state semifinal the next day against Ursuline's Greg Morgione.

However, Ball woke up May 25 with an upset stomach and experienced cramping that hindered him during a 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 6-0 loss to Morgione. He then withdrew from the third-place match and settled for fourth.

At the start of play May 26, coach Tommy Haddow wasn't sure how much he'd get from his first-singles player.

"His stomach was bothering him, but (Morgione) played well and it was a very good match," Haddow said. "He was sick early and then it got worse when the heat started hitting. He started to cramp a little bit. ... The first set, that was a tough one to take, but he battled the whole time."

Wellington beat Cincinnati Country Day 3-0 in a state semifinal of the team tournament, with junior Milan Gonela winning 6-2, 6-0 at second singles, sophomore Griffin Biernat winning 7-6, 6-1 at third singles and junior Ben Marshall and sophomore Evan Manley winning 6-3, 6-2 at second doubles.

Ball was winning at first singles and seniors Anarag Reddy and Adam Sorrels were winning at first doubles when the match ended.

In the state final against Ursuline, Gonela won 6-0, 6-1 at second singles, Biernat won 6-0, 6-0 at third singles and Ball won at first singles.

"It's really exciting for our school and our team (to make it back to the state team tournament)," Biernat said. "We worked really hard this season and faced some adversity with injuries and it's good to see it all come together and everybody play well."

Ball missed most of the regular season with a shoulder injury but returned to finish first at a sectional held May 9 and 11 at Columbus School for Girls and at district held May 16 at Columbus Academy and May 18 at Reynoldsburg.

Sorrels also competed in singles in the postseason and lost in the first round at district.

At district in doubles, Marshall and Reddy lost in the first round and Gonela and Biernat lost in the second round, with both teams falling to eventual state runners-up Arie Tuckerman and Jack Madison of Academy.

"It was really upsetting for both Griffin and I and Trevor to not do as well as we expected to or wanted to in the postseason," Gonela said. "Hopefully, next year we can bring home some individual championships."

The Jaguars' other postseason entrant was Manley, who lost in the first round at district in singles.

Another key contributor was freshman Brayden Chawla, who saw playing time when Ball was out of the lineup because of injury.

Despite Ball missing most of the regular season, the Jaguars went 13-3 overall and placed second in the MSL-Ohio Division at 4-1, behind Academy (5-0).

"There's a lot of depth (on the team), but honestly, we really love each other and help each other work hard," Ball said. "Everyone's trying to outwork everyone else so we can all get to that next level. Our ultimate goal was to get the state championship, and we just got it. It was really cool."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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