by Mitch Lehman
Three of San Marino’s top tennis players combined to cobble together enough points to earn a second-place finish in the team competition at the prestigious Ojai Tennis Tournament, which celebrated its 113th renewal last month.
James Wade, Danny Gealer and Robert Carter earned a point for each match they won. Gealer and Carter advanced through four rounds of doubles action – unprecedented in school history – before dropping a 6-3; 3-6; 3-6 decision to Drew Dawson and Tyler Lu of University High School before a packed house. Dawson and Lu are ranked 18th and 5th in Southern California, respectively, and the Titan duo was the only duo to take a set from the champions. Also of note: In the semifinal round, Gealer and Carter defeated a duo from Palos Verdes High School that included Brandon Holt, son of WTA champion and former Ojai competitor Tracy Austin, who was in attendance at the matches.
Wade reached the semifinals before losing to Gage Braymer, also of University High School, who was the eventual champ, displaying his typical never-say-die attitude. Wade trailed in two of his matches before rallying to advance. Gealer and Carter are the first San Marino tennis doubles pair to go five rounds deep at Ojai.
“I am blown away by how well James, Robert and Danny competed in Ojai,” said head Coach Melwyn Pereira. “It was so fun to see them overcome adversity, put the puzzle pieces together and battle against the best boys in Southern California. The tournament was physically, mentally and emotionally taxing for Team San Marino, but many valuable lessons were learned. I am proud of the three boys.”
The Titans – ranked #1 in CIF Southern Section Division II – continue their championship campaign tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. against the winner of yesterday’s match between Hart and Camarillo with the location yet to be determined.
“Now we are moving on to the CIF team portion of our season,” said Pereira. “The team should be ready to work harder than they have all season and expect something from themselves every day.”
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