Connor Bruce

Eleanor Bailey/The Almanac

Connor Bruce stretches to reach a shot during last year’s WPIAL tennis singles tournament action. The Peters Township netter is back in action after an ankle injury prevented him from competing singles events. He combined with Elian Ascencio to win the Section 4-AAA doubles title. The duo are among the top contenders for the WPIAL prize. The WPIAL doubles tournament is being held April 29 and 30.

Peters Township’s Connor Bruce combined with Elian Ascencio to win the Section 4-AAA boys’ tennis doubles title.

The Dayton recruit was a former WPIAL singles champion and runner-up, but was unable to compete until recently due to a broken ankle.

The Peters Township duo defeated their teammates Ethan Farmer and Ryan Salus, both juniors, in the championship match, 6-0, 6-1, played at Bethel Park.

The four PT players, along with two tandems from Mt. Lebanon advanced to the WPIAL doubles tournament to be held Monday and Tuesday at North Allegheny High School.

After receiving a first-round bye, Bruce and Ascencio made their way to the finals with 10-0 pro-set sweeps of Trinity’s Ryan Hornickel and Jack Beecham as well as Baldwin’s Tommy Ahlin and Remy Davic.

In the semifinals, Bruce and Ascencio defeated Jason Stentz and Owen Descalzi of Mt. Lebanon, 6-2, 6-1. Stentz and Descalzi defeated their teammates, Sander Ham and Philip Gorun, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) in the consolation match.

Meanwhile, Farmer and Salus made their way to the finals with wins against Canon-McMillan’s Himanschu Birder and Michael Sheppard, 10-1, and Upper St. Clair’s Harrison Chui and Ross Petrone, 10-2. In the semifinals, Farmer and Salus beat Ham and Gorun, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

USC’s other doubles duo–Nitesh Nagpal and Shivam Patel–fell to Chartiers Valley’s Ethan Ecstatio and Paul Langbein, 11-10 (9-7).

CV also had another team in the tournament–Zac Byrd and Anthony Chiurazzi. The tandem lost to Ham and Gorun in the quarterfinals

Bethel Park’s representatives were James Ference and Hunter Dorfner as well as James Koch and Tanush Bahl. Ference and Dorfner lost to Ahlin and Davic 10-6 in the quarterfinals while Koch and Bahl fell to C-M’s Logan Cutts and Luke Gladden 10-2 after having dispatched Trinity’s Evan Carrier and Matt Day, 10-4.

Cutts and Gladden were eliminated by Ham and Gorun 10-7 in the quarterfinals.

In Class AA, Keystone Oaks advanced two teams to the WPIAL doubles championships.

Frank Stumpo and Mark Ragan finished as Section 4-AA runners-up, falling to Winchester-Thurston’s Justin Seth and Oscar Nigam in the championship match, 6-1, 6-2, played at Washington Park

On their way to the finals, Stumpo and Ragan beat Seton-La Salle’s Tyler Dollard and Caleb Barton, 10-6, Carleton’s Gabe Prepelka and Christoph Bernas, 10-6, and Ringgold’s Noah Stillwagon and Dylan Cora 6-0, 6-3.

Still wagon and Cora lost to KO’s Oliver Massery and Cameron Wilson, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the consolation match.

The top three teams in the WPIAL doubles tournament will advance to the PIAA championships to be held May 24-25 at the Hershey Racquet Club.

The WPIAL team tennis tournament commences this week with matches starting May 1. The finals are scheduled for May 9 or 10 depending upon weather. The PIAA team finals will be held May 17-18 in Hershey.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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