Moon’s Lounder, Winchester Thurston’s He Capture WPIAL Boys’ Tennis Singles Titles
Thursday, April 13, 2023
Bethel Park, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) hosted its WPIAL/UPMC Sports Medicine Boys’ Tennis Singles Championships on Tuesday and Wednesday at Bethel Park High School. A total of 30 student-athletes competed across the two days, and in the end Moon senior Anthony Lounder (3A) and Winchester Thurston freshman Austin He (2A) captured championships at their respective classifications.
Lounder is the first Moon student-athlete to win WPIAL boys’ tennis gold in either singles, doubles, or team competition. The Tigers senior entered the tournament as the number two seed and was making his third appearance in the bracket, owning a 1-2 record across 2021 and 2022.
He is the first champion from Winchester Thurston since Daniel Goldblum won his second of two singles titles in 2011. The first-year Bear is the first freshman to win the WPIAL boys’ tennis singles championship since Sewickley Academy’s Luke Ross did so in 2014.
The two finishers in the 3A classification and the top four finishers in the 2A classifications have qualified for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Boys’ Tennis Singles Championships, which will be held May 26-27 at the Hershey Racquet Club.
3A RECAP [Results]
Moon senior Anthony Lounder captured the school’s first gold medal in WPIAL boys’ tennis competition, winning 6-2, 6-0 over Bethel Park sophomore Devin Collier in the 3A championship match. Lounder, the two seed, opened the bracket with a 10-2 win against Baldwin senior Braden Yokopenic, followed by a 10-0 triumph versus Allderdice senior Deniz Finkel. He then punched his ticket to the PIAA Championships with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Gateway sophomore Zidaan Hassan.
Collier, the four seed, began his run to the final with a 10-5 decision against Franklin Regional junior Dhruv Kulkarni. He followed that up with a nail-biting 11-10(5) win against Franklin Regional senior Aaron Allen, and then carried a one-set lead into the second frame against North Allegheny senior Manas Kathir before an injury retirement sent the Bethel Park sophomore to the championship match.
Hassan was awarded third place in a walkover against Kathir. The Gateway sophomore defeated Mars senior Josh Dunham (10-5) and Fox Chapel junior Will Siegel (10-8) to make the semifinals, while the North Allegheny senior was a 10-6 winner against Upper St. Clair junior Ronan Gibbons and a 10-4 victory versus Gateway sophomore Adam Memije.
The first round through semifinals were held at North Allegheny High School on Tuesday.
This will be the first PIAA Championships appearance for both Lounder and Collier. Lounder reached the quarterfinals in the 2022 WPIAL Boys’ Tennis Singles Championships, and fell in the first round in the 2021 edition.
2A RECAP [Results]
Winchester Thurston freshman Austin He reached the mountaintop in the 2A classification, winning WPIAL gold with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Sewickley Academy sophomore Severin Harmon. He, the top seed, received a bye to open the tournament before defeating Sewickley Academy senior Jonathan Varghese, 10-1, in the quarterfinals, and Montour sophomore John Rohrkaste in straight sets (6-2, 6-0) in the semifinals.
Harmon, the two seed, was a 10-0 winner against South Park freshman Jonah Jasek to open the tournament, followed by a 10-1 victory against Valley senior Nicholas Bussard in the quarterfinals. The Sewickley Academy sophomore defeated Aquinas Academy junior Jackson Gillespie to reach the championship match by a 6-2, 6-1 scoreline.
Gillespie took bronze with a 7-6(3), 6-3 decision against Rohrkaste in the third-place consolation match. The Aquinas Academy junior won matches against Quaker Valley junior Chase Merkle (10-2) and Chartiers Valley junior Brendon Hallisey (10-1), while the Montour sophomore was victorious against Beaver senior Andrew Cavett (10-5) and Hampton junior Vitaliy Pikalo (10-4).
All four PIAA qualifiers (He, Harmon, Gillespie, Rohrkaste) will be making their debut appearances at the state championships. Both Gillespie and Rohrkaste were 1-1 in last year’s WPIAL Boys’ Tennis Singles Championships, with the former also appearing in the 2021 tournament. Harmon previously qualified for the 2022 WPIAL championships in the 3A classification.
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