WPIAL’s top tennis doubles teams set for gold rush

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Sunday, April 25, 2021 | 8:50 PM


The WPIAL’s top Class AAA and Class AA boys doubles teams will go for gold Tuesday and Wednesday and also challenge for berths to the PIAA tournaments, slated for May 28 and 29 in Hershey.

The top three teams in Class AA and the top two in Class AAA will advance to states.

The PIAA this winter determined all spring sports would go back to more traditional brackets for state playoffs as opposed to the brackets involving only district champions used for the fall and winter championships.

Class AAA

Tournament matches start at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Shady Side Academy and run through the semifinals before moving to North Allegheny for the championship and consolation finals Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Franklin Regional, North Allegheny and Allderdice each have two teams entered.

The experienced Panthers have a pair of senior combinations, with Section 1 champion Anup Nadesan and Advait Kulkarni as the top seed.

“It was nice to hear the (WPIAL tennis) committee men and women speak highly of (Nadesan and Kulkarni),” Franklin Regional coach Howard Fisher said. “They are very excited about playing in the top spot. We are looking forward to seeing how far both of our teams can go.”

FR seniors Shrey Ramesh and Vishal Thulasiram are seeded sixth. Thulasiram is at No. 1 doubles during team matches with the other three in the singles positions.

Nadesan and Ramesh teamed at WPIALs in 2019 and made it to the quarterfinals losing to the Fox Chapel team of Jay Kashyap and Brandon Wei.

“I talked with Anup and Shrey and gave them chances to play with different partners, and you can see the chemistry that both teams have,” Fisher said.

This year’s Fox Chapel’s entry of seniors Will Ernharth and Zain Hussan own the No. 7 seed after a runner-up finish to Allderdice’s Deniz Finkel and Ian Kuchera in the Section 3 tournament last Wednesday.

They hope to make a run that will match or exceed what Kashyap and Wei were able to do when they advanced to the WPIAL semifinals and consolation finals, placing third overall and qualifying for states. Peters Township senior Elian Ascencio and sophomore David Lusk are the No. 2 seed, followed by North Allegheny senior Chase Davidson and junior Shomik Telang at No. 3, and Finkel and Kuchera at No. 4.

Ascencio teamed with graduate Connor Bruce in 2019 and finished as the Class AAA runners-up.

Penn-Trafford senior Brian Lee, a 2019 WPIAL doubles participant, and freshman Alex Turowski are the No. 9 seed and will take on Ernharth and Hussan in the first round.

The Latrobe duo of senior Dom Robinson and sophomore August Lawrence are seeded 12th and will meet Mt. Lebanon brothers Jack and Luke Wilke.

Class AA

Quaker Valley juniors Henry Veeck and Michael Lipton are the hunted as the No. 1 seed. They will open against the Highlands combination of senior Gabe Norris and junior Richard Ratliff.

First-round matches start at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at North Allegheny, and play continues through the semifinals. NA will host the consolation and championship finals Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Quaker Valley, Valley and South Park have two teams entered.

Quakers junior Will Sirianni, one half of the WPIAL Class AA runners-up with graduate Potter Oliver in 2019, teams this year with senior Thomas Pangburn as the No. 3 seed.

Valley has Section 3 runners-up Thomas Albert, a senior, and Dario Wolfe, a junior, as the No. 6 seed.

“I think WPIAL AA doubles is wide open,” said Valley coach Rachael Link, who also has the combination of sophomores Nicholas Bussard and Dylan Gentile slotted as the No. 12 seed.

“You have strong teams from Quaker Valley and South Park right up there, but there are several other teams ready and hoping to make a run to the finals. I think you might see a couple of upsets on Tuesday.”

A team who Link is very familiar with, North Catholic junior Brody Golla and sophomore Alex Garvey, is seeded second. Golla and Garvey defeated Albert and Wolfe for the Section 3 title last Wednesday.

But Valley got a measure of revenge two days later by beating North Catholic in a matchup of unbeatens to decide the Section 3 team title.

South Park seniors Joe Toth and Ethan Bowden are seeded fourth. Toth finished third and qualified for states with graduate Stone Ellis in 2019.

Greensburg Central Catholic seniors Ben Ritenour and Matt Metrosky are positioned as the No. 10 seed and hope to move past the seventh-seeded duo of Oscar Nigam and Allen Gao from Winchester Thurston.

Mt. Pleasant’s senior combination of Nick Yurechko and Tyler Salvatore is seeded 11th and will face Wolfe and Albert to open the tournament.

Section 2 team champ Central Valley also had two teams qualify – the duo of juniors Ryan Hardek and Christian Kosinski as the No. 9 seed and the combination of juniors Ryan Kerr and Andrew Yankello as the No. 14 seed – but the teams will not be able to compete because of covid-releated issues.

The WPIAL will not replace the teams. As a result, the No. 8 seed, South Park senior Dylan Weiss and junior Alex Duing, and Quaker Valley’s Pangburn and Sirianni both will move into the quarterfinals.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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