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Titan trio advances in CIF

While Friday’s first day of the CIF Southern Section Individual Tennis Sectionals marked the end of the season for the majority of local participants, there was also success and even some advancement from the quartet of La Salle High, Maranatha, Pasadena Poly and San Marino.

Rio Hondo League-champion San Marino had little trouble qualifying its two entrants past the opening round, which took place at Redlands University.

Both Titans sophomore James Wade and the doubles team of Robert Carter and Daniel Gealer swept their way into next week’s action, either in the Championship Round of 32 on Thursday at Whittier Narrows or the following day’s Championship Round of 16 held at Seal Beach.

Wade, who last picked up two victories for the Titans in a Division I team quarterfinal defeat Tuesday, won two matches again after earning a first-round bye.

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Wade opened the second round with a painless 6-0, 6-0 victory over Redlands’ Kevin Pavoc, the Citrus Belt League runner-up.

Shortly after, Wade was almost as dominant in a 6-0, 6-1 triumph that eliminated Baseline League runner-up Andrew Riccitelli of Los Osos.

“The main thing about James is how much he’s improved from the beginning of the season until now,” Titans Coach Melwin Pereira said of the Rio Hondo League champion. “To win at the next level, you have to have an all-court game.”

The Carter-Gealer combo also received a first-round bye before toppling Steven Hood and Nam Nguyen of Quartz Hill, 6-1, 6-0.

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After dispatching the Golden League champions, Carter and Gealer defeated another titlist in the Baseline League champs of Kevin Yen and Kevin Lai of Los Osos, 6-0, 6-1, in the third round.

“When you get all these teams together, it’s hard to know what to expect because the teams come from different leagues,” Pereira said. “Overall, I think we were one of the stronger teams there.”

As for La Salle, Maranatha and Poly, the trio participated in the much closer venue of Whittier Narrows in South El Monte.

The schools combined for five victories, but no qualifiers.

Del Rey League singles runner-up Garrett Mak came within a victory of advancing when he ran into a wall in the form of Alpha League champion Thomas Pura of Brentwood in the third round.

Mak fell to Pura in a tough battle, 6-3, 6-2 after picking up wins over Alhambra’s Brendan Ma (6-4, 6-0) in the first round and Peninsula’s Jake Hoeger (6-3, 7-6 [7-3]) in the second round.

The Del Rey League doubles champion duo of Jordan Adams and Austin Fitzgerald began their day with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Village Christian’s Jeff Ueo and Jacob Kim.

Yet, Adams and Fitzgerald became the underdogs in the next round, falling to top-seeded Mission League champions Harrison Kalt and Michael Genender of Harvard-Westlake, 6-1, 6-0.

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Poly singles player Henry La Soya and the doubles team of Sachin Puri and Matt Johnson, both Prep League runner-ups, notched wins.

La Soya bounced Del Rio League-champion Henry Bui of Santa Fe, 6-0, 6-1, before succumbing to Jake Klein of Calabasas, 6-2, 6-0.

Puri and Johnson topped Olympic League champions Leo Liang and Derek Lee of Maranatha in the day’s lone local matchup, while they then ran into a buzz saw in No. 4-seeded Jake Coe and Brandon Brenseke of Brentwood, 6-4, 6-4.

Maranatha’s other representative, Olympic League singles’ runner-up Randall Hsieh, lost in the first round, 6-0, 6-0, to Schurr’s Matthew Lin.


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