Last weekend’s District One singles tennis championship at the Springfield (D) YMCA brought a pair of gold medals to Bucks County.
Top seeded Faith Christian sophomore Toby Frantz earned a ticket to the PIAAs with his 2A tournament win on Friday. Frantz handled Pope John Paul II sophomore Aiden McCarel 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals, and claimed the Lions’ first tennis title of any kind with a hard fought 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 finals win over Lower Moreland’s Jacob Heller.
“I started off pretty well. In the second set, I started rushing. In the third set, I got back to how I played in the first set and was able to take it,” Frantz assessed. “I try to play my game and not let how they play effect what I do on the court.
“To be able to do this for Faith the first time is pretty special,” Frantz concluded.
TennisRecruiting.net ranks Frantz as one of the top 10 sophomores in Pennsylvania. “I play pretty much every day and I play in USTA junior tournaments twice a month,” Frantz explained. “That is playing the best kids in the Tri-State area.”
In 3A, CR South junior Mikkel Zinder took first place with a Saturday 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Lower Merion senior Justin Yi. Fellow Golden Hawk junior Alex Sterin claimed third place with a 6-3, 6-1 straight set victory over Lower Merion sophomore Brian Yi.
The Herald profiled Zinder and Sterin in the July 8, 2021 issue.
Sterin and Zinder, along with CB West senior Alexander Myron, earned byes in the 28-person tournament. Sterin defeated Zinder, a 2021 state semifinalist, 6-4, 7-6 in the SOL Patriot finals.
Myron, the Colonial champion, earned his third straight SOL title with his 7-5, 6-3 victory over West teammate and classmate Andrei Bogdan.
Quakertown sophomore Max Arkans earned an invite to districts by defeating Abington’s Julio Martin-Navas 6-1, 6-1 in the SOL Liberty semifinals. Upper Dublin’s Scott Schlackman captured the Liberty crown by topping Arkans 6-4, 6-4 in the finals.
“I didn’t think I could accomplish the amount I accomplished this year,” Arkans reflected. “To bring that into my next couple of years makes me think I can do a lot better in the coming years than I thought I could have.”
Arkans made history at Springfield. His 6-4, 4-6, (10-6) first-round win over Harriton sophomore Aiden Hsu is believed to be the Panthers’ first-ever district tennis triumph. Arkans joins Zack Pernia, who now plays for Millersville, as just the second Panther to reach districts since 2013.
“At Quakertown, we have a lot of support from our classmates and peers,” Arkans said. “It all adds up to helping the athletes in this area. It makes their success grow. “
Arkans took a huge leap forward in his mental game this season. “Earlier in my career, I’d look at my draw and assume I was going to lose,” he admitted. “But this year, thinking more positively of myself gave me that extra push. The kids playing in districts were levels I hadn’t seen before. The fact that I was able to compete with them gave me a lot of confidence.
“I’ve tried to walk in thinking I could win the match, no matter how I played,” he continued. “I always tried to think that the score was 0-0, no matter what the score is, so it was a fresh start. And every single game mattered to me.”
Speed is a big component of Arkans’ game. “I try and wait for my opponent to make a mistake,” Arkans observed. “That is mostly how I win matches and how I got some games off of the No. 1 seed (Zinder). I was patient, I kept getting to everything and eventually I would wait for the mistakes.”
Zinder topped Arkans 6-3, 6-2 in the second round and clinched a PIAA berth with a 6-2, 6-2 quarterfinal win over Radnor’s Ariston Fonseca. Sterin joined Zinder in states by virtue of his 6-2, 6-2 win over WC East’s Ben Gao and 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Conestoga’s Rohan Roa in the quarterfinals.
Bogdan and CB East senior Connor McPartland rounded out the participants in the 3A singles tournament.
The 3A team tournament started on Monday. No. 10 CR South, No. 11 CB East and No. 13 CB West all fell in the opening round.
The District One doubles tournament will be held May 13 and 14. The 2A and 3A state singles tournaments both start on May 27.