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DISTRICT 2 TENNIS: Scranton Prep captures Class 2A title

WILKES-BARRE — Scranton Prep’s Ved Dave and Ethan Borick were focused on their matches as friends and fans started to make their way toward the fence around the Kirby Park Tennis Courts.

The anticipation grew, and so too did the intensity of their swings.

Both knew a coveted District 2 Class 2A team championship could come with a flick of the wrist or a powerful swing.

With everyone’s attention split, Dave hit a winner and players stormed the court. Borick sprinted to him and the celebration started.

In that moment, Dave earned a 6-2, 6-3 win over Yicheng Li at No. 3 singles for the deciding game in a 3-0 win over top-seeded Wyoming Seminary on Friday afternoon.

Scranton Prep (14-1) captured its first district title since 2016 and will advance to the PIAA first round to face the District 11 champion May 14.

“I was really nervous, but I stuck to my game,” Dave said. “It feels great to clinch it. I know everyone worked for this. I also worked very hard and it felt great to finish like that.”

Scranton Prep reached the final by ending the reign of Dallas in the semifinals, 3-0. Wyoming Seminary (13-1), the Wyoming Valley Conference champion, defeated Holy Cross, 3-0, in the semifinals.

“It feels awesome after four years to not only win against Wyoming Seminary, which was great, it was the first time this team beat Dallas,” said Borick, who had his match against Billy Hall stopped just short of completion.

“We had two very impressive wins.”

Scranton Prep seized the early momentum when Akhilesh Velaga, a former District 2 Class 2A singles champion in 2022, earned a win over Ansarali Atabayev, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 2 singles.

He also had a convincing win in the semifinal against Dallas’ Nate Linnen, 6-0, 6-0.

“I really wanted our team to win, so I played with a lot of passion,” Velaga said. “We have worked hard for three years to get this and I really wanted to shine and help my team. That’s what drove me to play so well.”

Scranton Prep took a 2-0 advantage when the doubles team of David Geyfman-Jackson Keating defeated Pablo Otero-Benen Griffin, 6-1, 6-0.

Then the drama heightened. Dave and Borick seemed in a race to clinch the tournament.

Borick, who had a high level of energy and determination in a rematch of a loss against Hall in last season’s singles quarterfinals, vocalized his emotions with every scorching serve and forehand and built a 6-2, 5-3 lead before Dave finished it off.

Wyoming Seminary got wins from Hall, and their doubles teams of Christopher Ramos-Andrew Tsui and Pablo Otero- Benen Griffin in the semifinal win over Holy Cross.

“It’s been four years since we won the Wyoming Valley Conference, and we won the Wyoming Valley Conference and were 13-0,” Wyoming Seminary coach Raphael Cooper said. “We go into the semis and we take care of Holy Cross, but then run into Scranton Prep. It was competitive.

“You would obviously like gold and that was the goal. But we cannot be disappointed with the season that we had.”