Wilcoxons qualify for state tennis after all

By Paul Boggs - pboggs@civitasmedia.com

Gallia Academy senior Adriana Wilcoxon competes in the Blue Devils’ Division II district doubles tennis tournament at Ohio University.

Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

ATHENS, Ohio — Indeed, Tuesday was the Wilcoxons’ day of Monopoly.

After all, it had to feel like drawing the “Bank Error in Your Favor” card, then landing on Boardwalk and building a hotel.

That’s because, upon further review, Gallia Academy’s Adriana and Pierce Wilcoxon will be playing in the Division II state tennis doubles tournament — having won Tuesday’s third-place match as part of the annual Southeast-East District event.

That’s correct — the Wilcoxon siblings secured a state tournament trip to the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

After learning on Monday that they would be getting a second chance to qualify for Friday and Saturday’s state meet, Adriana and Pierce played in the third-place tilt on Tuesday afternoon at Ohio University’s Tennis Center.

This time, with sunny skies overhead and on the outdoor doubles courts, the Wilcoxons won 7-6 (7-4 tiebreaker), 6-2 over East Liverpool’s Jonathan and Chris Montgomery.

Thus, the Wilcoxons went 2-1 at this year’s tournament — a year after finishing as district semifinalists.

On Saturday, the Wilcoxons —the district doubles top seed for the second consecutive season — won their quarterfinal match before losing in three sets to Cambridge’s Clay McCauley and Andrew Eddy in the semifinals.

A report on Saturday’s matches appeared in Tuesday’s editions of Ohio Valley Publishing.

McCauley and Eddy, who captured the district doubles championship, automatically secured a state tournament berth by advancing to the district title match.

It was also initially understood that the Wilcoxons were eliminated from the tournament, since it was originally believed that only two state qualifiers emerged from the Southeast-East district.

However, it was discovered on Monday that the Southeast-East was supposed to send three qualifiers to the state — and so the Wilcoxons and Montgomerys got another opportunity on Tuesday.

And, Adriana and Pierce — playing outdoors this time as opposed to Saturday’s all-day indoor session, played well and gained a straight-set sweep.

It marked the second such sweep of an East Liverpool squad, as the Wilcoxons won a pressure-packed 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker), 7-5 encounter against freshmen Klayton Kosak and Isaac Davidson in the quarterfinals.

By being the top seed, the Wilcoxons had an opening-round bye in the 12-team event — as all three of their first-time opponents represented the East District.

Thus, Adriana — the only female player at this year’s district tournament and the only Gallia Academy senior — earned at least one more match on Friday.

“I’m happy that both of them (Wilcoxons) got another opportunity and we’ll definitely take it. It’s rare to get a second chance like that,” said GAHS tennis coach Randy Christian. “They played well, were in sync together, and playing outdoors this time made a difference too. It allowed us to hit more lob shots, played to our strengths as outdoor players.”

Consider also that since Adriana and Pierce played primarily singles matches in the regular season, Saturday’s competition marked only their sixth and seventh matches all year as an actual doubles team.

Tuesday’s bout was the eighth, and their first outdoors matches since sweeping through the five in the Division II sectionals at Portsmouth.

The Wilcoxons have now won 13 postseason matches together, and will have a maximum of four more matches in this weekend’s state tournament.

The single-elimination bracket features 16 clubs, with the opening round and quarterfinals set for Friday.

The Wilcoxons will play seniors Devesh Modi and Maddox McGrae of Gates Mills Hawken in the round of 16.

Modi and McGrae gained a berth by finishing as the Northeast District’s runner-up, as the Northeast and Southwest districts sent four qualifiers apiece.

The Southeast-East, along with the Northwest District, advanced three each — while only two teams qualified from the Central District.

The complete Division II doubles bracket, as part of the entire state tennis tournament coverage page, can be found on www.ohsaa.org.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

Gallia Academy senior Adriana Wilcoxon competes in the Blue Devils’ Division II district doubles tennis tournament at Ohio University.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2016/05/web1_5.21-GAHS-Adriana-1.jpgGallia Academy senior Adriana Wilcoxon competes in the Blue Devils’ Division II district doubles tennis tournament at Ohio University. Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

By Paul Boggs