Viper tennis advances to state

The Vandegrift tennis team advances to state with the help of three seniors (sitting L-R) Synclair Larson, Arvind Venkatesan
and Kailey Chase.

By LOU CUSANO, Contributor

The Vandegrift tennis team claimed its first 6A Region IV championship last week, Oct. 26 and 27, in San Antonio and advances to the 6A State Championships this week.

The No. 8 ranked 6A Vandegrift team topped off a season of hard fought battles against 6A District 25 rivals Westlake and Lake Travis high schools. After losing 9-10 in a regular season match, the Viper squad defeated Westlake 10-6 in the District 25 semifinals and then beat the No. 6 ranked Westlake team 10-3 in the Region IV quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, the Viper team defeated Harlingen South 10-1 to set up a third meeting with No. 3 ranked Lake Travis. The Viper team had lost two previous matches against the Lake Travis squad, a regular season loss and a hard fought 10-8 District 25 championship. This time a determined Viper team would prevail in a very competitive and tense 10-9 win. Vandegrift was able to come out ahead 4-3 after doubles play with two third set tie-break wins.

Seniors Synclair Larson and Arvind Venkatesan would win the mixed doubles with a 10-8 tie-break after being down 1-7. Blaine Kanak, junior, and Deven Bapat, sophomore, would also win a close third set tie-break to set the stage for the deciding singles matches. Senior Kailey Chase would win the final match of the day to clinch the victory for the state bound Viper team.

In their first two years in Class 6A, the Vandegrift Viper tennis team has two second place finishes in the powerful District 25, where three top-ten 6A teams compete (Vandegrift, Lake Travis and Westlake). Last year the Vipers finished the season as Region IV finalists.

This year, they are Region IV champions and advance to the state championships for the second time in 3 years (2015 5A finalists) where they will compete against Plano West, Houston Memorial and Houston Cypress Ranch for the 6A state title.

The state championships will be played in College Station at Texas A&M University on Nov. 1 and 2. Come support the Vandegrift team, who will play @ 3:00 pm.

Vipers who played against Lake Travis:

Varsity girls team:
Gabby Cusano (11th)
Charli Delmonico (11th)
Anisha Apte (9th)
Synclair Larson (12th)
Kailey Chase (12th)
Ellie Hughes (10th)
Kenna Thomason (9th)

Varsity boys team:
Nic Cusano (11th)
Jai Naik (9th)
Blaine Kanak (11th)
Deven Bapat (10th)
Arvind Venkatesan (12th)
Jake Lum (11th)
Varun Gorti (11th)