Coronado seniors Sam Grant and Ryland McDermott could have been contenders for the state singles tennis title this year.
But the best friends couldn’t stand the possibility of ruining each other’s dream of being a champion.
They decided to team up and were rewarded for it Saturday.
Grant and McDermott defeated defending state champions Sam Sholeff and Skylar Davidson of Bishop Gorman 6-4, 6-0, to win the Division I boys doubles title at Darling Tennis Center.
“We wanted to finish it off together,” McDermott said. “It means so much with all the hard work we have put in.”
Grant and McDermott met while playing youth tennis and quickly became friends. Both are among the state’s top singles players and played each other in last year’s Sunrise Region final.
“It was just kind of weird competing against each other,” Grant said. “If you’re going to play a sport, you’re going to play to win, but it’s just weird because we’ve been playing together for so long and hanging out forever.”
The teams traded holds of serve early in the first set before the Coronado duo took advantage of a service break to win the first set before coasting in the second, coming together for one last midair chest bump after cashing in on match point.
“It’s like bonding with your brother,” Grant said. “It’s so much more special. We wanted to end it on a win.”
In singles, Palo Verde junior Dylan Levitt regained the state title he won in 2013 as a Bishop Gorman freshman, albeit the hard way.
Levitt didn’t have a chance to defend his title last year, sitting out the season after transferring from Gorman, but he won it back with a comeback performance.
After rallying from a set down to beat defending state champion Ben Gajardo of Desert Oasis in the semifinals Saturday morning, Levitt outlasted Gorman’s Aaron Bailey 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 in the final.
“It feels great,” Levitt said. “I’m just glad to be back. Playing high school tennis is so much fun.”
Bailey made Levitt work for a first set that was closer than the score indicated, then rallied to tie the match, forcing Levitt to play his sixth set in less than six hours, but Levitt never stopped running down shots and powering through forehands.
“He was getting to a lot of balls, and he was just playing well,” Levitt said. “I felt good. A little tired, but I just stayed hydrated and did what I needed to do.”
Another year, another batch of hardware for the Pasimio family.
Clark sophomore Michael Pasimio won his second and his family’s fourth straight Division I-A boys singles title, finishing his match at almost the same moment his junior brother Marcus won his second consecutive boys doubles title, this time with partner Christian Ong.
Michael Pasimio breezed to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Truckee’s Zach Haas in the final. Since Division I-A began in 2012, Miko Pasimio and younger brother Michael are the only players to have won the division’s boys singles crown.
“It’s a little different this year,” Michael Pasimio said. “It feels like more was expected of me.”
It’s hard to expect more of someone who played eight matches to win the Southern Region and state titles this year and lost a total of 10 games.
“I just kept focusing on each point, point after point,” Michael Pasimio said. “I knew today was going to be serious.”
Marcus Pasimio and Ong, a senior, steamrolled to the title with two wins Saturday. They defeated Northern Region runners-up Kevin Cross and Colin Deurlington of Truckee 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals before beating Moapa Valley’s Andy Beckstrand and Koby Frei 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
It was the second meeting in five days between the Clark and Moapa Valley twosomes. Pasimio and Ong were 7-5, 6-2 winners over Beckstrand and Frei in the Southern Region final.
“We weren’t surprised anymore with how they were going to hit, and we were able to relax a little more,” Ong said.
Ong and Marcus Pasimio helped Clark to its fourth straight state team title Friday. Marcus Pasimio and Chitanya Ingle won a share of last year’s doubles title when their match against Incline’s Miles Prim and Cole Steinberg was called because of rain and the teams shared the title.
Ong and Pasimio won all eight region and state tournament matches in straight sets.
“We go pretty far back, and we used to train with the same coach when we were little,” Marcus Pasimio said. “We have been good friends ever since.”
— Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5230.