Boys Tennis: Gahanna's Carpico, Wellington's Biernat win district singles titles

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Gahanna's Brandon Carpico won the Division I district singles title May 22 at Reynoldsburg, defeating Olentangy Liberty's Vishnu Bodavula 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

In addition to becoming the first player from the Gahanna Lincoln boys tennis program to make it to the Division I state tournament since 2013, sophomore Brandon Carpico enters state May 28 and 29 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason as a district champion. 

Carpico survived a tight first set against Olentangy Liberty senior Vishnu Bodavula and won 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 for the title May 22 at Reynoldsburg, giving the Lions their first district singles champion under 11th-year coach Chris Schwinnen. 

New Albany seniors Ryan Mudre and Devin Boyer won the district doubles title. 

“I know Vishnu is a fighter,” Carpico said. “Getting that first set was huge. It turned the match around. It means a lot as a sophomore, making a name for myself.” 

Carpico also beat Bodavula in three sets during the regular season and 6-1, 6-3 in a sectional semifinal May 13.

Bodavula lost to St. Charles senior Reece Yakubov earlier in the season but beat Yakubov 6-2, 6-2 in a district semifinal to set up another matchup with Carpico, who moved into the title match with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Pickerington North sophomore Pavan Uppu.

In the third-place match, Yakubov beat Uppu 6-1, 6-1. 

Mudre and Boyer defeated Dublin Jerome juniors Max Fickas and Tanish Pairu 6-0, 6-0 in a semifinal and then defeated their New Albany teammates, junior Declan Freedhoff and freshman Ben Belinko, 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

Freedhoff and Belinko defeated juniors Kevin Liu and Eli Wiblin of Jerome 7-5, 6-2 in a semifinal. 

“We’ve just been trying to work on our games in case a big match comes and in big moments we’ll be ready,” Boyer said. “We do a lot of things together. We practice together and just working on our games and executing really well.” 

Mudre and Yakubov both qualified for the state singles tournament in 2019, while Boyer teamed with 2019 graduate Nathan Jose to finish third in doubles. Bodavula also was a state doubles qualifier in 2019. 

“We’re playing with good energy and are ready to just keep it going,” Mudre said. “We’re ready for a shot at a state title.” 

Jaguars, Vikings players

advance in Division II 

Wellington’s Griffin Biernat and Columbus Academy’s Jack Madison and Arie Tuckerman are looking forward to return trips to the Division II state tournament.

The three players locked up top seeds for state by winning district titles May 22 at Academy.

Biernat beat teammate Sanjan Shanker 6-3, 6-0 in the singles final, while Madison and Tuckerman defeated Wellington’s Evan Manley and Braysen Chawla 6-1, 6-2 in the doubles final.

The top two finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state May 28 and 29 at Lindner Family Tennis Center.

As a freshman in 2018, Biernat teamed with his brother, Connor, to win the state doubles title.

“I’m looking forward to trying to get another one, a singles one this year,” Biernat said. “It’s really relieving that we had a season this year. I was a little scared after going through the summer and not knowing what was going to happen. I’m glad to be out here playing and I’m glad that I’m going to the state tournament again.”

As sophomores in 2019, Madison and Tuckerman lost to teammates Rhian Seneviratne and Suriya Sundaram 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 in the state doubles final.

“We’re so excited to be back,” Tuckerman said. “We know what we need to do to win it all. We’re ready to go. ... We play a lot differently this year than we did two years ago. Two years ago, we were still very beginner as doubles players. We were fortunate to make it to the state final, but we feel we’re much more experienced.”

Madison has played part of the spring with a hernia injury, which will require surgery following the season. The injury has forced him to serve underhand.

“I decided to eventually just push through it,” said Madison, who had hernia surgery in January 2019. “I talked to the doctor and he said I’ll definitely have to get surgery over the summer, but I’m pushing through it now and doing everything that I can.”

Academy coach Marc Wurtzman believes his players have the potential to contend for a state title.

“We’re very excited for the opportunity to compete at state again,” he said. “Since day one on Zoom calls back in March of 2020 up until now, we were unsure if were even going to have a season this year. I thought they played extremely well. If they can work hard ... and keep molding together and playing together as a team, they’re capable of competing with anybody in the state.”

—Frank DiRenna

sports@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSports