Franklin Regional, South Park duos win school’s 1st WPIAL doubles titles

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | 9:10 PM


There were a lot of similarities to the two winning WPIAL doubles teams.

First, they were their school’s first doubles teams to win a WPIAL title. Franklin Regional’s squad won the Class AAA title and South Park’s duo the Class AA title.

Each team had a right-hander and left-hander, which in doubles in a big advantage.

And they had great chemistry.

Franklin Regional seniors Anup Nadesan and Advait Kulkarni rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to defeat North Allegheny’s Chase Davidson and Shomik Telsang, 6-2, 7-5.

“This is absolutely amazing,” Nadesan said. “I knew we had it in us. To see our goals were fulfilled just makes it even more special.”

Nadesan said they didn’t change their approach when they were down 5-2.

“We just send it,” Nadesan said. “We don’t play differently no matter what the score is. We continued to play aggressive, and they seemed to get tight because they started realize the moment of the situation and we capitalized on that. We kept going and steamrolled the final five games on trust.”

Nadesan and Kulkarni were seeded No. 1 and they showed their opponents why.

“I dreamed of this moment ever since I joined the high school team,” Kulkarni said. “I’ve been playing since kindergarten, and it’s always been a dream of mine to reach a lot of great achievements. It’s a big honor to win it and represent the school and team.”

Kulkarni said the hard work paid off.

“It was an outstanding effort from both players,” Franklin Regional coach Howard Fisher said. “Good teamwork, they have passion and a desire from the beginning. This was our end goal to be able to make an impact in the WPIAL level. We’re looking forward not only to the state tournament, but the team tournament.”

Placing third in Class AAA was the Mt. Lebanon duo of Jack Wilke and Luke Wilke, which defeated Peters Township’s Ellan Ascencio and David Lusk, 6-4, 6-3. Only the top two teams in Class AAA advance to the state tournament May 28-29 in Hershey.

The South Park duo of Joey Toth and Ethan Bowden used extra incentive in winning their title. They defeated Quaker Valley’s Will Sirianni and Thomas Pangburn, 7-5, 6-3.

They didn’t like being seeded fourth.

“We had a chip on our shoulder,” Toth said. “We proved we were the best. Being the school’s first doubles champion feels great.”

Bowden said their top-spin lob attack seemed to frustrate their opponents.

“You could see they were upset,” Bowden said. “When they were both at the net, we’d lob it over them. It worked to our advantage. It’s an incredible feeling to be the school’s first champions.”

South Park coach Dawn Kempton said Toth and Bowden were determined to win.

“I haven’t seen a drive like that from them,” Kempton said. “They had great position, played with great attitude and they kept their cool. They meshed well together.”

Bowden, the lefty, said another advantage was being able to stay on their forehand. Toth is a righty.

“We were able to cover the entire court,” Bowden said. “It played a key role in our win.”

Placing third in Class AA and qualifying for the PIAA tournament were the Winchester Thurston duo of Oscar Nigam and Allen Gao, which defeated Quaker Valley’s Henry Veeck and Michael Lipton, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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