By Jeff Appelblatt
The Manalapan High School and Marlboro High School boys’ tennis teams each took part in the Monmouth County Tournament (MCT), but Christian Brothers Academy (CBA), a rival of each, ran away with the competition, taking away the title previously held by Holmdel High School, which was this year’s runner-up.
Marlboro’s Jordan Paul shined for the Mustangs in the competition, though. He immediately showed off his talent and eventually the freshman, usually a second singles swinger at Marlboro, dominated his way through the MCT’s first singles competition. Paul ended up defeating Connor Nelson from CBA, 6-1, 6-1, and defeating Justin Wain from Holmdel, 6-1, 6-0, on the path to being named the county champion.
Manalapan’s Tarun Pilavulathil and Henrik Lekhno battled in the first doubles competition, but Andrew DeMaio and Matthew Jaworski from CBA beat the Braves in two sets, 6-3, 6-3.
Bryan Pritsker from Manalapan made it to the third singles finals, but he also lost to a CBA athlete: Kyriacos Petrou, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7).
It was then quickly back to team play for the Braves and the Mustangs.
In Manalapan May 11 in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Central Jersey, Group IV tournament, the Braves (13-5) defeated Franklin High School, 5-0. Yash Trivedi won first singles, Konrad Slabinski won second singles and Pritsker won third singles. As for doubles, Lekhno and Pilavulathil won at first, while Reimond Costa and Saivamsi Polavarapu won second doubles.
Less than 10 miles away in Marlboro, the Mustangs (17-0) were just as dominant, crushing Edison High School, 5-0. Eitan Khromchenko won first singles, Paul won second singles, Nikhil Chakraborty won third singles, Lawrence Wang and Ryan Wang won first doubles and Jared Chiou and Alex Yao won second doubles.
The Braves took on Hillsborough High School May 15 in the tournament’s second round. Marlboro, meanwhile, faced East Brunswick High School the same day.
In the first round, Hillsborough defeated Sayreville War Memorial High School, 5-0. East Brunswick pulled out a close one over Hunterdon Central Regional High School, 3-2.