Miami Valley’s Morehart third, Rams double team fourth at state tennis

From left, Miami Valley’s Makul Sharma, Reece Quigley and Colton Morehart. Makul and Reece placed fourth in D2 doubles and Colton was third in D2 singles. CONTRIBUTED

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From left, Miami Valley’s Makul Sharma, Reece Quigley and Colton Morehart. Makul and Reece placed fourth in D2 doubles and Colton was third in D2 singles. CONTRIBUTED

Three sets, two tie-breakers, one marathon match – Colton Morehart had his chances and he is the first to point that out.

The recent Miami Valley School graduate – as of Thursday – battled for close to four hours in the OHSAA Division II state singles semifinals against Trevor Ball, of Columbus Wellington School. But it was Ball that moved on to the championship match with a hard-fought 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 win. Ball went on to finish as state runner-up Saturday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

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“I had several chances to put him away, multiple set points,” Morehart said. “If I could have taken the first set, things might have been different.”

Despite feeling “very salty” after his semifinal loss, Morehart bounced back with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ada senior Zachary Beaschler, 6-2, 6-2, to place third.

“Ending with a win was definitely a positive and I’m happy because I competed well in the first match,” Morehart said. “But I definitely dwell on things, so I will be thinking about that match for awhile.”

While Morehart’s high school tennis career is over, he will soon join the collegiate ranks at IUPUI. He knows the lessons learned at the state tournament will be valuable ones at the next level.

And while a state title eluded him, Morehart did earn family bragging rights. Colton and his sister Rheanna, also a Miami Valley graduate, are both two-time state qualifiers. But only Colton can boast of being a state placer as his big sister never advanced to the second day of play.

Morehart wasn’t the only Rams tennis player who left the state tournament with hardware. Makul Sharma and Reece Quigley placed fourth in D-II doubles Saturday. Sharma and Quigley, in fact, are the first-ever Miami Valley doubles team to qualify to the state final four in tennis.

One by one, the Miami Valley duo checked off their season to-do list – a state berth, a state win, advancing to the final four.

“And being the first team from our school to advance to the final four is a big deal,” Quigley said. “I’m really happy.”

Familiarity paid off for the Rams. While some doubles teams consist of singles players teaming up for a tournament run, Quigley and Reece played doubles all season.

“I think our cohesiveness was a big part of our success,” Sharma said. “We got along with each other really well. It’s something I will never forget.”

Division I – Top-seeded Tim Cianciola, of Canfield, put an end to Beavercreek sophomore Austin Staiger's state tournament run as he topped Staiger, 6-1, 6-1, in the first round of Division I singles play Friday. Cianciola went on to place third.

Division II – Trevor Ball, of Columbus Wellington School, beat Fenwick senior Dylan Sagan, 6-2, 6-0, in the first round of D-II singles play. Ball went on to finish as state runner-up to Indian Hill senior Andrew Pregel. Miami Valley school junior Niyanth Reddy started strong but fell to Ada senior Zachary Beaschler, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3. Beaschler finished fourth after falling to Reddy's teammate Morehart. Cousins Nathan and Nick Brumbaugh battled but it was Lexington cousins Luke and Blake Webster that came away with a 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 first-round win.

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