Coronado boys set sights on first championship

The past seven boys Class 4A state tennis team championships have been taken home by either Bonanza or Palo Verde.

Coronado is hoping it can break that streak and claim the school’s first boys tennis crown this year.

The Sunrise Region champion Cougars (12-2) will play Reno in the state semifinals at 9 a.m. today at Carson High School. Sunset champion Bonanza (12-0) and Bishop Manogue meet in the other semifinal at 1 p.m. The winners return to play for the state title at 9 a.m. Friday.

“The kids have to go up there and understand the reason why we’re there is to win the whole thing,” Coronado coach Luther Bohanan said. “Any time I get in there, I have the expectation of winning.”

The Cougars have experience on their side. They lost only two players from a team that advanced to the state semifinals last season.

“The experience is huge,” Bohanan said. “All of my seniors and juniors have been there for three years now. They know what to expect when they go north.”

In singles, seniors Colton Pate and Matt Gapultos set the tone. Marc Feldman gives the Cougars a third player who is capable of collecting two or three points in a match.

Pate finished second and Gapultos third in the Sunrise Region singles tournament.

“It’s more of a team effort this year,” Gapultos said. “We help each other.”

Brian Foley and Mitchell Smith made a statement at the region doubles tournament last week. The two freshmen, seeded fourth in the Southeast, won the tournament and should contribute again this weekend.

Jakob Knopp and Elliott King finished third in the doubles tournament and are a threat.

“We added a bunch of freshmen who can play tennis,” Bohanan said. “These kids know how to win.”

Bonanza also should be able to rely on experience, with the bulk of last year’s state runner-up team returning. The Bengals edged defending state champion Palo Verde in the Sunset Region final to claim the state berth.

Bonanza beat Coronado 15-3 in its first match of the season. Neither Bonanza nor Coronado has played the two North teams this year.

“We have to play with heart, stay focused and just have fun,” Gapultos said.

In the girls tournament, Bishop Gorman (15-0) is attempting to win its fourth consecutive title and 15th in 21 years.

The Gaels will face Reno in a semifinal at 1 p.m. today at Centennial Park in Carson City.

Surprising Green Valley (10-3) will meet Galena at 9 a.m. today. The two winners return at 9 a.m. Friday.

The state singles and doubles championships will begin at 3 p.m. Friday and conclude Saturday.

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