Clayton freshman makes grand entrance in state tennis tourney

2011-05-27T22:14:00Z Clayton freshman makes grand entrance in state tennis tourneyBy Bill Hester | Special to the Post-Dispatch stltoday.com

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • Mac Rechan's two opponents in Day 1 of the individual portion of the Missouri boys tennis tournament had a combined record of 59-2.

When they finished playing the talented Clayton freshmen their record was 59-4.

Rechan advanced into the semifinals of the Class 1 Tournament at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield. He will meet Will Welte, the No. 1 player from state champion Pembroke Hill, on Saturday.

"I didn't know much about either of my opponents today," said Rechan, who had won both of his singles matches in the team tournament Thursday. "I just wanted to go out and fight hard. It was a good start-up day."

Rechan opened with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Osage junior Jacob Hader, who came into the match with a 26-2 record.

That was followed by a 6-2, 6-4 win over Eric Dailey, a senior from Excelsior Springs who was a state medalist last year. The loss was the first in 34 matches this season for Dailey.

"I had never faced him (Dailey) before, although I did see that he was undefeated," Rechan said. "He is a very good player with a big serve."

Welte defeated MICDS senior Teddy Jones 6-4, 6-3 in a quarterfinal match.

"I played Welte last summer and won, and he beat me in three sets in the winter," Rechan said. "I know it is going to be a tough, hard-fought match. Anything can happen in the state semifinals. I am just a freshman, but I might as well start my high school career with a bang."

Rechan has already done that with his four wins, all in straight sets.

MICDS senior Charlie Curtis also advanced to the semifinals with a pair of straight-set wins. He defeated University City's Alec Kaczkowski 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and will face Christopher Frye of Barstow in the semifinals. Frye finished second at state last year, Curtis third.

Westminster and Clayton both fell short in hopes of a team title Thursday, but they combine for three of the four entrants in the semifinals in Class 1 doubles. Westminster advanced both of its teams: Timmy Miller and Stephen Lillenberg, along with Bailey Merkle and Cameron Smith.

Clayton's Jake Lee and Joe Dulle had a thrilling 7-5, 7-6 win in the quarterfinals against Christian Nagy and James Helzberg of Pembroke Hill. Lee and Dulle will face Miller and Lillenberg in one of the semifinals.

St. Louis U. High senior Greg Marifian assured himself of his best finish in his career with a pair of wins. Marifian defeated Ashwath Sampath of Parkway Central 6-2, 6-0 in the first round and Jordan Ward of Carthage 7-5, 7-5 in the second round. Marifian is the only local player remaining in the main draw in Class 2 singles.

Parkway Central's Michael Davis fell in straight sets in the quarterfinals against defending champion Paul Nahon of Springfield Glendale.

The first-round Class 2 doubles match between Mick Lyons and Jake Goodman of Lafayette and Drew Morris and Tanner Morris of Kirkwood was as good as advertised. They played in the pivotal match in the team quarterfinals, with Lyons and Goodman winning in three sets.

The story was very similar Friday as the Morris brothers won the first set before Lyons and Goodman rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win. Lyons and Goodman went on to defeat Ben Hess and Dan Brodnick of Francis Howell North 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.

One Kirkwood doubles team was able to advance to the semifinals, as senior Robert Conroy and junior Josh Waite bounced back after losing the first set to win the final two sets convincingly in a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 quarterfinal win over Griffin Smith and Zack Royle of Park Hill South.

The semifinals are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. for Classes 1 and 2. The championship matches are slated for 1 p.m.

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