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Highland's Hadler, Brunswick's Slomski to meet in sectionals

MONTROSE — Highland senior Isaac Hadler did his job Tuesday. So did Brunswick junior Adam Slomski.

As a result, they will play the most anticipated intracounty boys tennis match of the year.

No. 2 seed Hadler and the unseeded Slomski swept both of their foes at the Akron Division I Sectional — dropping just 11 total games — to set up a winner-take-all battle for a trip to the district tournament.

Joining them in the sectional quarterfinals, which take place Thursday at the Springside Racquet and Fitness Club, are the doubles teams of Wadsworth’s T.J. Lockwood and Carter Moore and Highland’s Evan Kuczynski and Kyle Yamat.

The top four finishers in each bracket will advance to the Akron District at Springside.

“I’m moderately happy with the way I played, but there is some stuff that I have to fix going into Thursday,” said Hadler, who made his initial district appearance in 2016. “I know it will be a tough match against (Slomski) because he’s a good player.

“We were successful as a team this afternoon and we had a lot of fun, which is the most important part of tennis to me.”

Hadler routed Twinsburg’s Zach McIlroy and Walsh Jesuit’s Nathan Fisher by matching 6-1, 6-0 scores under sunny skies. The four-year letterman had a sizeable contingent of family and friends seated courtside, adding to his enjoyable day.

Slomski eliminated North Royalton’s Jimmy Giles 6-3, 6-1 in the round of 32, then took down Stow’s Spencer Crawley 6-2, 6-3 in a contest with great personal significance. Crawley beat Slomski in the opening round of last season’s sectional, but was overwhelmed in their rematch.

“I started off slow today, but I played Spencer like it was my last match, leaving everything I had out there,” Slomski said. “I knew he was a very good player, but I’m capable of finishing shots and I was loose the entire time.

“I’m feeling really confident right now, and I believe I’ll give (Hadler) a good match.”

The winner of the Hadler-Slomski match will face an unseeded opponent in the semifinals — either Twinsburg’s Marco Nesic or Cuyahoga Falls’ Ryan Cvammen.

No. 1 seed Aaron Yeh of Brecksville remains alive, but two of his teammates — No. 3 seed Dumebi Smarty and No. 4 seed Dika Smarty — were disqualified shortly before their first matches for violating state rules regarding non-scholastic competition.

In the doubles draw, Wadsworth sophomores Lockwood and Moore topped Brunswick’s Connor Hess and Dominic Olah and Nordonia’s Spencer Harp and Shawn Iyer by identical 6-2, 6-1 scores.

Lockwood (1st singles) and Moore (2nd singles) said it was a mutual decision with coach Christa Halicki to pair up for the tournament, believing their skills and temperaments were complementary.

“Carter is a great teammate and doesn’t let anything get him down,” Lockwood said.

Moore reciprocated, saying, “T.J. has a great serve and doesn’t get mad, no matter what happens.”

The Wadsworth tandem will take on No. 2 seeds Nicci Polifrone and Sam Yurak of Hudson for a trip to districts.

Hornets senior Kuczynski and junior Yamat breezed past Tallmadge’s Ed Suber and Patrick Rotunda 6-1, 6-0 and beat Brecksville’s Frank Zhu and Paul Woo 6-2, 6-2. They will challenge No. 3 seeds Conner Evans and David Kendrick of Walsh Jesuit in the quarters.

Brunswick seniors Kayla Webb and Kenny Delk also made an impact — and history — by beating Nordonia’s Ethan Lee and Tyler Mattei 6-1, 6-2. Webb became the first county female player to win a postseason match as a member of a boys squad in at least 30 years.

Webb played on the girls tennis team as a freshman (2nd doubles), sophomore (3rd singles) and junior (2nd singles) before taking last fall off.

“I thought I was done playing tennis, but when I heard that the boys team needed players, I wanted to come back,” she explained. “It was a lot of fun, and it’s very cool to know we were able to do something unique.”

Also winning their opening doubles matches were Medina seniors Kyle Alexander and Dawson Huffaker and Bees junior Jacob Danszcak and sophomore Jonathan Dexheimer.

Wadsworth sophomore Beau Casey and Medina sophomore Shane Cook joined Hadler and Slomski as the only county singles players with victories. Each posted straight-set triumphs in the first round.

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