Gorman's Crovetti digs deep to take singles final

RENO - Chelsea Crovetti came into the Division I state girls tennis championships with a target on her back.

The runner-up in girls singles last season, the Bishop Gorman sophomore was a favorite to compete for the crown this year.

Crovetti lived up to her reputation, claiming the state singles title Saturday at Caughlin Athletic Club, outlasting Coronado's Samantha Smith 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) in a fantastic final that drained both players.

Crovetti and Smith competed Friday in the team final, and each won a quarterfinal match Friday afternoon and a semifinal Saturday morning.

Crovetti, in particular, seemed to be running out of gas by the end.

"It was just a lot of heart that helped her pull through that situation, and it makes your adrenaline go so you can do whatever it takes to keep battling," Gorman coach Gordon Hammond said. "It was a very close match, and Sammy had the chance to finish her off, but Chelsea hung around as it went back and forth like a big seesaw."

Smith defeated Crovetti 6-3 during Friday's team final, but nerves might have crept in during the singles final, according to Hammond.

"To me it just looked like there were some nerves on one side (from Smith) and persistence on the other (from Crovetti)," Hammond said. "I'm sure Sammy will be back, though."

In the doubles final, Palo Verde's Chloe Henderson and Kristen Newell capped an undefeated freshman season by downing Liberty's Ashley Wao-Udin and Sina Gebrai, 6-2, 6-1.

"They enjoy each others' company, and it helps them when on court because they're comfortable to depend on one another," Palo Verde coach Jane Centrella said. "I love their synergy, the way they turn to each other and talk while playing but focused, and the fact that they know each other well enough to where they won't fight on the court or anything. They're just a happy, good team together."


Palo Verde junior Trevor Johnson appeared to nonchalantly make his way through the Division I singles championships at Caughlin Athletic Club.

Johnson says he was simply playing possum, though.

"I look like I'm not trying hard out there, but that's the illusion of it," Johnson said. "I try to make the guy think it's nothing and try to be very composed to show the other guy he isn't scaring me.

"But when I get to that point, I'll become intense and strike."

The strategy worked soundly for Johnson, who cruised to a state title, defeating Coronado's Cassell King 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals and Rancho's Rohan Gupte 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

Though confident and sometimes cocky when he plays, Johnson is humble behind his competitive veil.

"Winning the individual title was nice, but I would trade it for a team title any day," said Johnson, who went 3-0 in singles in Palo Verde's 10-9 loss to Coronado in the team final Friday. "If we won as a team, everybody would have been happy instead of just me."

Centennial seniors Max Novak and Lucas Lee wasted little time in dispatching Reno's Dominic Aramini and Kai Mars 6-1, 6-2 in the boys doubles final to win the school's first state tennis title of any kind.

"It was really a good experience to get a state title as a senior because this was our last chance," Lee said. "We played some good doubles, and I thought it was a really cool experience to come up to Reno and play well."