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Clark bounces The Meadows for Southern Region title

Kenny Daniels never envisioned being in this position.

A season ago, the Clark senior wasn’t even playing high school tennis. Mentored by his father, Ken, a former professional tennis player, Daniels chose to join the Chargers at the most opportune time.

Helped by the play of Daniels and doubles partner Chaitanya Ingle, Clark defeated The Meadows 12-6 in the Division I-A boys Southern Region championship Friday at Darling Tennis Center.

“At the start of the season, I didn’t really expect this,” Daniels said. “But a couple weeks into practice, you knew this team was definitely going to be something special and we were going to go far. We just have so many talented guys who are willing to put in the work.”

Daniels and Ingle went 2-0 to pace the Chargers’ attack. The duo is undefeated this season.

“They didn’t get together until late,” Clark coach Clarence Chun said. “We found out they had a good combination, so we kept them together. To be honest with you, I’m surprised by their undefeated season.”

Clark (16-1) took a 5-1 lead after the first round before clinching the victory in the second round on Joseph Maalouf’s 6-3 decision in singles over the Mustangs’ Alex Lanzkowsky.

Mark McCrary and Caleb Chen also went 2-0 in doubles for the Chargers, and Mike Pasimio was 3-0 in singles.

“It feels great,” Chun said. “Clark hasn’t done this in a long time. We knew we had a strong team, but you never going into a season thinking you’re going to win the whole thing.”

The Mustangs (13-3) were led by Mario Gamboa, who went 2-1 in singles. The Meadows won four of its six points in the third round.

Both teams advance to the state tournament at Reno Tennis Center.

Clark, which last won a state title in 1979, will face the Northern Region runner-up at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 18.

The Meadows will make its first trip to state since 2000. It will play the Northern Region champion at 9 a.m. on Oct. 18.

GIRLS

Taler Brazell hasn’t forgotten what winning a state championship feels like.

Even though it was two years ago that The Meadows captured the crown, Brazell is determined to rekindle that same feeling her senior season.

“There’s four of us (seniors) that won state,” Brazell said. “We have that taste in our mouth. We know we want to get there. Last year, we lost in regionals and we knew this was our final year and that we had to get back on top.”

Consider the first hurdle cleared.

The Mustangs captured the Division I-A Southern Region title in a 13-5 rout over Faith Lutheran at Darling Tennis Center. The Meadows (15-1) swept all six of its opening-round matches and won five of the six matches in the second round to clinch the victory.

The doubles teams of Taler Brazell and Samantha Gondy, and Amanda Brazell and Ava Frazier, each went 2-0. Erika Mauban and Bhavana Janga went 2-0 in singles.

“We went in one match at a time all season,” Mustangs coach Frideric Prandecki said. “I told the girls that we can’t be thinking about state or individuals. I told them let’s focus on this match and then if we win, that will be great. Then we can take the next step.”

The Crusaders (16-3) earned four of their five team points in the third round.

Both teams will head to state.

The Meadows will face the Northern Region’s runner-up at the Reno Tennis Center at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 18.

Faith Lutheran will face the Northern champ at 2 p.m. on Oct. 18.

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