Girls Tennis: Upper Arlington doubles team wins central Ohio's only state title

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group

Girls tennis players from central Ohio competed for state titles last weekend, and a doubles team from Upper Arlington came home with some championship hardware.

Senior Ella Hazelbaker and junior Megan Basil captured the Division I state doubles title Oct. 24 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. It marked the fourth consecutive season and the ninth time in 10 seasons that a central Ohio doubles team won state in Division I.

The Golden Bears also enjoyed team success, reaching the final in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I state tournament Oct. 25 at Reynoldsburg. UA fell one court short of the team title, falling to Mason 3-2.

In Division II, Columbus Academy lost to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown 3-2 in the OTCA state final Oct. 25 at New Albany and the Vikings' Sydni Ratliff lost in the state singles final Oct. 24 in Mason.

Also in Division II on Oct. 24, Wellington’s doubles team of junior Alexis Burkhalter and sophomore Katie Zerbi finished second.

Upper Arlington's Megan Basil, left, and Ella Hazelbaker congratulate each other after scoring a point in a doubles match during the Division I state tournament Oct. 23 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. The pair won the state title Oct. 24.

Hazelbaker, Basil

win title for UA

Hazelbaker and Basil defeated Rocky River Magnificat’s Caroline Moritz and Natalie Smitek 6-2, 6-2 in a state semifinal and captured the championship with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Centerville’s Clara Owen and Caroline Hinshaw.

“We told ourselves we can’t get down on ourselves,” Hazelbaker said. “We had to keep a positive attitude the entire tournament, just keeping ourselves in it the entire match.”

UA's other doubles team of senior Noah Mizer and sophomore Ava Richard finished third. They lost to Owen and Hinshaw 6-0, 6-2 in a semifinal but beat Moritz and Smitek 6-2, 6-0 in the consolation final.

The Bears won back-to-back state doubles titles in 2014 and '15, with Audrey Berger and Kyra Jung winning in 2014 and Olivia Kompa and Paige Kompa capturing the championship the next year.

“This is really great because this was our goal since the beginning of the season, so it was good that we got to meet that goal,” Basil said. “Ella and I have been playing together since we were little so we know each other’s game really well and that really helps because I feel like I know where she’s hitting her shots, so I can move where I need to be.”

The next day in the team tournament, UA defeated Toledo Notre Dame Academy 3-0 in a semifinal before losing to Mason.

The Bears fell short of their first OTCA title since 2013, while Mason won its fourth in a row.

Also in the OHSAA individual state tournament, which began Oct. 23, Olentangy Berlin's Ella Franz and Olentangy Liberty's Dani Schoenly both lost in quarterfinals. Dublin Coffman's Dasha Chistyakova and Worthington Kilbourne's Libby Alderman both lost in the first round.

In doubles, Olentangy Orange’s Tyler Reed and Caroline Sproule and Olentangy’s Sydney Nickel and Archita Sriram both lost in the first round.

Columbus Academy's Sydni Ratliff finished second in singles in the Division II state tournament a year after winning the championship. She also helped the Vikings reach the team state tournament, where they finished second.

Vikings' Ratliff falls

short of title repeat

Ratliff, who has committed to Ohio State, capped her prep career by competing in the individual and team tournaments for Academy.

After winning the state singles title last year and being the runner-up in 2017 and ‘18, she beat Kettering Alter’s Grace Lampman 6-2, 6-0 in a semifinal but lost to Eaton’s Macy Hitchcock 7-6, 7-5 in the final Oct. 24.

The next day in the team tournament, Academy defeated Toledo Ottawa Hills 3-0 in a semifinal before losing to Hathaway Brown.

Against Hathaway Brown, Ratliff won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles and Carolyn Tsung won 6-0, 6-0 at second singles.

“Sydni bounced right back (and) that’s what true champions do,” Academy coach Marc Wurtzman said. “She had a tough day (Oct. 24) and came out and represented the school well (Oct. 25) and bounced right back.”

Wellington's Alexis Burkhalter, left, and Katie Zerbi congratulate each other on a point scored in a doubles match during the Division II state tournament Oct. 23 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. The pair finished second Oct. 24.

Burkhalter and Zerbi, who placed fourth in state doubles last season, beat Bella Spinazze and Lucia Spinazze of Toledo Central Catholic 7-6, 6-1 in a semifinal but lost to Dayton Oakwood’s Sarah Hall and Natalie Connelly 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

“They complemented each other so well throughout their run," Wellington coach Tom Haddow said. “We utilized their strengths as best we could, and the girls really responded — they came so close. I’m really proud of them and their accomplishments.

“We ran into a great team (from Oakwood) in the final and we almost pushed them to three sets.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Olentangy Berlin's Ella Franz competes in the Division I state tournament Oct. 23 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. She lost in a quarterfinal.
Dublin Coffman's Dasha Chistyakova competes in the Division I state tournament Oct. 23 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Worthington Kilbourne's Libby Alderman competes in the Division I state tournament Oct. 23 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.