Underclassmen steal spotlight at WPIAL tennis tournament

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 | 12:30 AM

A youth movement is afoot at the WPIAL boys tennis singles tournament this week.

A freshman, two sophomores and just one senior advanced to the finals as the Class 3A and 2A tournaments began Tuesday.

In Class 2A, top-seeded freshman Austin He of Winchester Thurston rolled to the championship match, dropping a total of three games in two matches. He topped fifth-seeded John Rohrkaste of Montour in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-0.

Sophomore Severin Harmon of Sewickley Academy, the second seed, was almost as dominant, dropping a total of four games en route to the finals. He defeated third-seeded Jackson Gillespie of Aquinas Academy in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-1.

He will face Harmon for the WPIAL championship and Rohrkaste will face Gillespie for third place at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Bethel Park. The top four finishers in Class 2A advance to the state tournament.

In Class 3A, the lone senior standing is second-seeded Anthony Lounder of Moon, who beat third-seeded Zidaan Hassan of Gateway in the semifinals, 7-5, 6-0.

In the other half of the draw, fourth-seeded sophomore Devin Collier of Bethel Park advanced to the finals when ninth-seeded senior Manas Kathir of North Allegheny retired in the second set of the semifinals. Collier was leading, 6-2, 2-1.

In the quarterfinals, Kathir knocked off top-seeded sophomore Adam Memije of Gateway, 10-4.

Lounder and Collier will square off for the title at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Bethel Park. Hassan will be awarded third place in a walkover due to Kathir’s injury.

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