Led by the three aces, Ursuline tied Austintown Fitch for the SVC title after being runner-up the past two years.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
BOARDMAN -- Brian Meek has a mini-entourage.
Meek has his teammates; his coach, Joann Gardner; his grandfather, Anthony Giampetro, and, of course, Christa Thomas.
Meek calls Thomas his girlfriend. Thomas tells Meek she's his "Superfan." Meek calls his teammate, Donald Person, his "sweetie." Person tells Meek to "shut up."
Together, Meek, Person and Person's younger brother, Kelton, form the Steel Valley Conference's best tennis team for Ursuline High.
Almost has become a common phrase for the Irish the past three years. They finished second by one point at the 2000 and 2001 SVC Tournaments.
Then, at Tuesday's SVC Tournament at Boardman High, Ursuline finished tied for first with Austintown Fitch.
It was good enough, almost.
"We go through this every year," said Gardner, whose Irish have won won the regular season title three straight years.
"Yeah, but we're moving up," Meek added.
Donald Person wins
Donald Person, a junior, beat Boardman's Tom Barth 6-3, 7-5 TUesday to win the No. 1 singles title. Ahead 5-4 in the second set, Donald had three straight match point tries. But Barth wouldn't fold, forcing another set before bowing out.
"He's a good player; he's got a big serve," Person said of Barth. "It was one of the those days that you don't quite get going. But I'm excited. I guess it hasn't quite kicked in yet."
Meek, a junior, beat Fitch's Dan Spencer 6-0, 6-0 to win the No. 2 singles title for the second straight year.
"I'm tired," he said after the match. "I think I need to be playing a little better. I haven't been hitting that much. I need to get ready for sectionals."
Kelton Person clicks
Kelton Person, a freshman, beat Fitch's Carols Becerra 6-2, 6-2 to win the No. 3 singles title. It was the second straight year Ursuline swept the SVC singles titles -- Todd Wojtkowski, now graduated, won No. 1 singles last year; Donald Person won No. 3.
Donald Person made it to state in singles last year; Meek went with Wojtkowski in doubles. The Irish play in a team tournament today that could qualify their team for state.
One can only hope their tennis will be better than their grasp of current events. After his match, Meek asked what the Traficant verdict was.
"Guilty," he was told.
"Oh," Meek said. "That's surprising."
Ursuline's singles sweep, however, was not.
Hyden-Latimer on top
Shawn Hyden and Jason Latimer of Fitch outlasted the rain, the clouds and Boardman's top doubles team of Ryan Yosay and Ryan Mistovich to win the SVC's No. 1 doubles title, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2.
"That was a heck of a victory," Hyden, who will play tennis at Mount Union next year, said. "We came back from 1-5 in the second set to force a tiebreaker. We lost, but we just took over in the third set."
Hyden, a sophomore, and Latimer are undefeated in the SVC.
"We hope to continue our magical run and win sectionals," Hyden said.
In No. 2 doubles, Boardman's Kevin Weiser and Scott Lancet defeated Mooney's Adam Amorn and Alex Simon, 6-4, 6-4.