South Fayette’s Patterson, North Catholic’s Scheller crowned WPIAL tennis champs

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | 11:00 PM

The WPIAL crowned a pair of boys tennis singles champions as South Fayette’s Jacob Patterson outlasted Shady Side Academy’s Colin Gramley for the Class AAA title, and North Catholic’s Nicolás Scheller made quick work of Quaker Valley’s Mike Sirianni.

Patterson jumped out to an early lead in what turned into an epic duel as Gramley mounted a comeback. The top-seeded Patterson was in front 5-1 before Gramley started to rally.

“As soon as we got out there, the wind was blowing. I wasn’t feeling great right off the start,” Gramley said.

Gramley, a WPIAL doubles champion, wouldn’t go away quietly. Trailing 5-1, the Denison University recruit won the next four games but ended up trading the rest of the games, falling 7-5 in the first set.

“I just told myself, ‘You’re down 5-1. This set might be over and you’ve got nothing to lose.’ I started to get my rhythm a little bit, breaking serves, started putting more balls in play,” said Gramley, a senior.

“Being up 5-1 in the first set and losing that lead, I really just had to focus on what I was doing wrong and really rebound,” said Patterson, a junior. “I think I just got nervous because it was the finals and there were a couple games where I lost the lead and I just had to make sure I kept the ball on the court.”

In 2019, Patterson lost in the consolation final as a freshman, finishing fourth and missing the PIAA tournament when the top three qualified.

“It’s nice to go from fourth to first,” Patterson said with a smile.

In Class AA, North Catholic newcomer Scheller made the most of his first appearance in the WPIAL championship, taking home the title in his first year at his new school.

After moving from New Mexico and just getting back to playing tennis in the last five months after two years off, Scheller made quick work of Sirianni the way he did with Mike’s twin brother Will in the semifinals, 6-1, 6-1.

“I was a little anxious early, but as I got into the match further, I focused and just did me,” Scheller said.

“My backhand and my serve and volley are my strengths,” said the Trojans ace. “At states, I want to prepare a little better for my match and like I said, just do me.”

Moving on the the PIAA tournament, just Patterson and Gramley will advance in AAA. In AA, the consolation match was for the third and final spot at states. In addition to Scheller and Mike Sirianni, Thomas Jefferson’s Drew Dimidijan topped Will Sirianni 6-1, 6-3 to earn bronze and will play on in Hershey.

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