KINGSTON - Call it a lesson learned.
For a few players from the Wyoming Valley Conference, the District 2 boys doubles tournament turned into a pretty good teaching tool.
For two teams from Wyoming Seminary, it turned into a chance for redemption.
The top-seeded Seminary team of Henry Cornell and Matt Cartwright easily advanced to the Class 2A doubles semifinal round with strong opening performances Wednesday, along with their Seminary teammates and No. 3 seed Chris Kim and William Xu.
“It’s great. I’m very proud of them,” Seminary coach Allison Joanlanne said. “Both teams are playing really well together. I’m just very happy for them.”
Both Seminary teams will play Scranton Prep squads in today’s semifinals, which begin at 1 p.m. at Kirby Park, with the championship match following. That sets up the possibility of an all-Seminary doubles final, following last year’s all-Seminary district singles title match between graduated brothers Harry and George Parkhurst.
“Oh, I would love that,” Joanlanne said. “Both teams play teams from Prep, so that’s going to be a challenge.”
A couple of other teams from the WVC came up just short in their bids to join today’s semifinal action.
Tunkhannock’s seventh-seeded duo of Brent Christy and Cory Dolsky made a strong run to the Class 2A quarterfinals before falling to Prep’s Keller McGurrin and Pete Kazmiercjak 6-0, 6-3.
“I played number one singles and I didn’t play against kids who hit that hard,” Christy said. “I’m not really used to such hard hitters.”
Crestwood’s Ross Gladey isn’t accustomed to losing much. But after he was upended in the district singles quarterfinal round, Gladey found more heartbreak in the Class 3A doubles quarters, where he teamed with Alex Machalik to make a spirited bid before falling to Wallenpaupack’s Jeff Alderfer and Eric Miller 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“I think I learned a lot about how the game is played and how to put my best foot forward in a lot of situations and in a lot of pressure,” Gladey said. “It was close, could have gone either way at times. They got a break on us at the end and that was it.”
It’s just beginning again for Cornell, who suffered a tough loss in the district singles championship as the top seed Monday.
“It’s a big letdown (for him) that he didn’t win the singles,” Joanlanne said. “But he recovered really quick.”
Cornell returned with a vengeance Wednesday, teaming up with Cartwright after a first-round bye to post a convincing 6-0, 6-1 victory over Montoursville’s Austin Smith and Hunter Williams and downing the Dunmore duo of Tom Occipinti and Dennis Mundt 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinal round.
“Mentally, he got up for it,” Joanlanne said of Cornell. “He’s very excited for it.”
Seminary got another shot of excitement from its third-seeded team of Kim and Xu, who opened doubles play with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Wyoming Area’s Tom Rose and Aaron Carter. In fact, Kim and Xu went through the first two rounds without dropping a game, breezing past Montoursville’s Bryan Shutz and Justin Parrish 6-0, 6-0 in the second round before besting Valley View’s Joey Ferretti and Travis Troiani 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
That sent Kim to the district semifinal round, where he fell short while being frustrated in the singles quarterfinals last week.
“He’s fired up for the doubles, too,” Joanlanne said. “He was disappointed himself after the singles. This is his last hurrah for the year.”
That Cornell and Kim, who played first and second singles in Seminary’s league-championship lineup, were split onto separate teams is a mild surprise since many doubles teams are formed by pairing the lineup’s top singles players.
But not always.
“When you get a doubles team together, you can’t just go by their skills overall, their singles spot,” Joanlanne said. “You have to ensure they have good chemistry together and they’ll make a good team. Henry and Matt are good friends, that plays a part of it. Chris and Will are good friends.
“You have to kind of know what each other’s going to do.”
Now, what the Seminary teams will try to do is meet up with each other in the championship.
“Of course it’d be a big deal to have both teams in the finals,” Joanlanne said. “I can only hope.”