A Page -- May 20, 2011


St. Ignatius’ James Oliver finally 

qualifies to state tennis after three 

previous narrow misses; St. Ed’s Jeff 

Williams and Mike Swartz qualify as 

doubles team after just forming earlier 

this month; Kenston’s Marks, Walsh’s 

Spittler and Cona, Hudson’s Ohanian 

and Boslet, and Westlake’s Buffington

to return to states

By Norm Weber

OBERLIN – After narrowly missing making it to the Division I state tennis tournament each of the past three seasons, St. Ignatius’ James Oliver has qualified for the state tournament after upsetting a No. 1 seed and defending state qualifier, Ross Whittaker, 6-1, 6-3 in Thursday’s district quarterfinals here at The College.

Listen to Oliver interviewed by Norm after the former’s state-qualifying match by clicking and downloading:
Whittaker, a sophomore from Lake High, will have to come through Saturday’s backdraw in order to return to the state tourney. Others to qualify in singles play Thursday were Westlake junior Colton Buffington, Cloverleaf’s Jake Dunbar and Kenston’s Nolan Marks.

Listen to Marks interviewed by Norm after the former’s state-qualifying match by clicking and downloading:
Marks and Buffington qualified last year. Buffington, the defending state runner up in singles play, came in as a No. 1 seed, as did Dunbar. Marks also qualified to states last year.

Marks had to defeat three-time state qualifier, David Gabriel, 6-1, 6-3, in the quarterfinals to qualify. Gabriel, who will be attending Columbia University in the fall, will also have to come through the backdraw to make his fourth trip but will have to defeat Whittaker to do so.

Gabriel had a three-and-a-half hour match with Westlake’s Jason Wissman prior to playing Marks. After losing the first set, 6-7 (7-3), Gabriel came back and posted 6-2 and 6-4 set wins over Wissman to get to the Marks match. Gabriel cramped up several times against Marks as well.

Oliver, who will be studying at and playing for Lafayette next fall, will play Marks in the semis. Buffington will see Shaker’s Pete Smetona in the semis.

Shaker will have at least one, if not two, singles’ players advance to the states since three of the four Student/Athletes in the singles’ backdraw are Red Raiders. Smetona will see teammate Tommy Marx, who has been troubled by injuries this season, in the match to get into the fifth-and-sixth match for seeding.

Doubles play has a similar backdraw setup with two twosomes from Hoover playing each other Saturday. Nick Fockler and Justin Carpenter will play fellow Vikings Rob DeMarco and Chris Albertson to see which sets of teammates will prevent the other one from advancing to states. The former twosome came in as a No. 1 seed but was upset by Walsh Jesuit’s Matt Miles and Aaron Sandberg. 
Williams (L), Swartz (R)

Listen to Williams and Swartz interviewed by Norm after the former’s state-qualifying match by clicking and downloading:


Sandberg and Miles will face St. Edward’s Mike Swartz and Jeff Williams, a couple which topped DeMarco and Albertson, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. 

Williams’ partner from last season, Chas Gustafson, became injured a few weeks ago and could not go on, so Swartz came in as his new partner, and it has worked out quite well so far, with the state qualification and last week’s mini “Holy War’ in the sectional finals when they beat St. Ignatius’ Mike Nichols and Yaw Boakye.

In an all Jesuit quarterfinal, the Iggy duo lost to Walsh Jesuit’s Garrett Cona and Matt Spittler, a No. 1 seed that is also looking to return to states after making it as a doubles team in 2010.

The Walsh duo will see Hudson’s Pat Ohanian and Steven Boslet, also a returning state-qualifying tandem, in the semis  The Hudson duo bettered Revere’s Pete Harris and Frank Jin, a No. 1 seed, in the quarters.

The Revere and Ignatius teams will meet in the backdraw to see who goes to states.

The St. Ed tandem had a tough time in a first-round match with Hudson’s other team, Mike Hermann and Chris Nutt, but had tenacity to advance to the Hoover match, 6-7 (10-7), 6-3, 6-2.


Rocky River High alumnus Ricky Garrett 

earns Player of Year honors in the PAC, 

leading Grove City to league title, 

undefeated spring and NCAA tourney 


By Norm Weber

Ricky Garrett, a senior from Rocky River, played a big part in Grove City College’s tennis team winning the championship of the President’s Athletic Conference this month.

For his leadership and winnings on the court, Garrett was named the PAC Player of the Year.
Ricky Garrett

Garret went 7-3 as a singles player and 8-2 as a doubles player, including 6-2 with Marc Mentzer and 2-0 with Andrew Deckert.

The Wolverines went 7-0 in the PAC 10-0 overall in duals.

Garrett, who played his high school tennis at Rocky River High, went 6-0 in both singles and doubles play in PAC matches.

Among his highlights this season was a six-match winning streak in singles’ play.

The Wolverines advanced to the second round of the Division III NCAA Tourney.

Garrett has given back to the tennis community here. The Grove City Student/Athlete has served as a Student/Coach at the Oberlin College Yellow Ball Tennis Camps, which are run by Elyria Catholic coach Mary Herrick.