Sharks secure place in history with tennis state title

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Winning a state title is the epitome for every high school athlete, but what makes the title so special is the ride it takes to get to that point.

For the Ponte Vedra High boys tennis team winning a state title was something they felt confident in since the start of the season, and it came to fruition with them handing over the school’s first tennis state championship trophy to athletic director Michael Harrison during a presentation May 2. 

“You can’t script it any better,” Weiland said. “Winning a state title in Florida is not easy. It will be nice to see that banner up (in the gym).”

Senior Adam Logan battled back from trailing two match points early in a tiebreaker to eventually win his match and secure the title for the Sharks.

“It was definitely stressful, knowing that everything was riding on me, but I just went back to everything I’ve been working on my whole life and just tried to stick with my gameplan and stay aggressive,” Logan said.

It was just as nerve-racking for Logan’s teammates as they watched him and rooted him on.

According to fellow senior Andrew Kelley, the group got into a prayer circle at one point.

“We believed in Adam the whole way,” junior Ofek Blank said. “We just knew he was going to pull it off.”

The victory will always hold a special place in Logan’s heart, not only because of the magnitude of the win, but also because his dad passed away earlier in the year.

“I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old and my dad was my coach,” Logan said. “We learned how to play by watching YouTube together and then going on the court and figuring stuff out. He got me to where I am today, and I just devoted this season to him and wanted to do everything I could to honor him. This is the best way to do it.”

Logan is one of five seniors on the roster that will end their high school tennis careers as state champions and go down in history as the group that won the school’s first in tennis.

“This is the peak of my high school career,” senior Callum Searle said. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling, and it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Senior Elias Missa was slotted in as the team’s No. 6 player for most of the year and had played in seven matches, mostly in the doubles format.

However, he was thrust into a singles role to fill in for an injured player and stepped up in a big way by not losing a match at states after not playing at districts or regionals.

“Coach texted me and said that I might be playing, so initially it was a big surprise, but I knew I had been ready and was prepared,” Missa said. “I just tried to treat it like one of the thousands of matches that we’ve all played.”

Coming off the bench when your name is called is one thing but doing it in the most crucial of moments is another thing all together.

It was obvious to each of the Sharks that the intensity of the state tournament is unlike anything they see during the season, even at the district and regional levels.

“It’s a lot more intense and everyone has a chip on their shoulders because its win or go home,” sophomore Grant Price said.

One match the specifically stands out for Kelley during the Sharks postseason path was during the regional final against Vanguard, when he found himself down early.

“I got beat pretty bad in the first set, and I haven’t had an easy season with some tears in my knee and I’ve been injured a lot, but I thought to myself at the changeover ‘playing like this is not going to get us to our final goal and the state championships,’ so I slapped myself in the face and said ‘this is going to change right now,’ and I came back and won that match,” Kelley said.

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