DISTRICT 2 TENNIS: Scranton Prep's Borick earns Class 2A championship

WILKES-BARRE — Ethan Borick went from an unseeded player as a freshman and the second singles step on the ladder on his own team to a district champion in his final season.

On a spirited, competitive and physically grueling afternoon of intense tennis, the Scranton Prep senior defeated Wyoming Area’s Luca Argenio, 6-4, 1-2, in a match halted when Argenio’s body could go no further after he endured a three-hour semifinal match just to reach the District 2 Class 2A final at Kirby Park on Tuesday.

Borick, the No. 1 seeded player in the tournament, also outlasted his semifinal opponent, Wyoming Seminary’s Billy Hall, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. Argenio defeated Scranton Prep’s Akhilesh Velaga, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3, in his marathon of a semifinal as the heat and sun took their toll on all four players.

“This is really great,” Borick said. “For the last three years before this, I was the No. 2 singles player. Now that I am No. 1, I won the district. It is just great.”

As a freshman, when he and Argenio were teammates at Scranton Prep, Borick won two singles matches in the District 2 tournament and lost to eventual champion Lenny Maiocco in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. A year later, as the No. 4 seed, Borick reached the semifinals and lost to Valley View’s Luke Kotcho.

Last spring, Borick entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed. He lost to Hall in the quarterfinals, but came back and teamed with Velaga to win the district doubles title. In all three seasons, Velaga held the No. 1 spot for the Cavaliers in singles, and Borick played at No. 2.

Everything changed this spring when Borick reported to practice with a new focus and a developed more forceful serve that had great placement.

He helped lead Scranton Prep to the District 2 Class 2A team championship, and with his performance on the final day of the singles tournament, he completed his high school grand slam with singles, doubles and team gold medals in his career.

“I remember my first year against Lenny and him absolutely beating my butt,” Borick said. “He was the No. 1 player, and from there I worked, and I got to be the No. 1 player. I have a much better mentality, and I have a really consistent forehand now. I worked at this.”

Despite the loss, Argenio still had a smile on his face, albeit masking his pain that locked up his calf muscles and made it difficult for him to even walk after the match.

Like Borick, he made quite a leap to the No. 2 seeded player in his three seasons. After his first year at Scranton Prep, he transferred to Wyoming Area, and last season he made it to the quarterfinals, where he lost to Velaga, 6-1, 6-1.

This spring, he added velocity and intensity to his skills and avenged that loss in the three-set semifinal win.

“Mentally, I wanted to keep playing,” Argenio said. “I can’t get hurt out here. I have doubles and I have to keep training, and I felt that if I kept playing, I would have gotten hurt.

“I checked the clock after that semifinal, and it was four o’clock, and I said there was no way that we started at 1, but we did. It was a great match, with ups and downs. It was great. I gave 100%. I played until I couldn’t play any more.”