By Jack DaSilva
Gainesville High’s tennis teams have been building up momentum heading into this week’s 3A-District 5 tournament, and they’ve found success with both the boys’ and girls’ teams.
While Gainesville’s #1 single Dare Harris lost to Lecanto High School’s Malik Tahiri in the district finals, making it there is an accomplishment in itself.
Harris, who earned his number one-seed throughout the season, went into the district finals but fell short to Tahiri in three sets: 3-6, 6-4, (15-13) in the match tiebreaker.
Harris and Christian Mazpule joined “The Prep Zone” show on April 4th and both recognized top-seeded Lecanto as the team to beat going into the district tournament and Lecanto went on the become district champions on Tuesday, April 11th.
Harris made it to the state playoffs last year as a sophomore but he will have to wait until next year to try and make it back.
The GHS girls’ team had better results, winning the district with 17 points, finishing ahead of Lecanto which came in second place with 11 points.
Sara Michel, Olivia Bryant, and Elena Gilland won singles titles for the Lady ‘Canes, and Michel and Bryant won the district championship at #1 doubles. GHS will host the 3A-6 District runner-up in a region match next Tuesday, April 18.
Gary Pigott was in-between jobs when he took on the role of coaching the boys’ tennis team at Gainesville High School.
Pigott, who will be the girls’ golf coach this fall, had some trouble putting a team together at first when the season began.
“There’s 1,800 kids at GHS so I figured I’d have a meeting, some kids will show up and then we’ll kind of go from there which is what we did and only five kids showed up,” he said.
Pigott explained that he knew he’d have a good team to work with one way or another, especially with the return of Harris, who moved up from the #2 seed.
He made sure to point out that his team succeeds on and off the court with many of his players being a part of the Cambridge Program, which is similar to the IB Program at many schools.
In fact, only Mazpule and Harris came out to Sonic for “The Prep Zone” show on April 4th because the others wanted to stay home and study. Even the two players who were there had their school books open before the show began.
“GPA is not a problem on my team,” Pigott noted.
With success on and off the court, coach Pigott has done a great job as coach in his first year as the boys’ tennis coach. He hopes to transfer the same energy his tennis team had to his golf team next year.