Two-time defending champion singles champion Daly Meinert of Clovis North High is the top seed for the Central Section individual boys tennis tournament, set for Friday and Saturday at Wasco.
The junior’s quest to become the fifth three-time singles champion in section history begins at 9 p.m. Friday against Bakersfield Christian’s No. 16 Leon Germeroth. Clovis West’s Jacob Vander Beek and Taka Shin are the top seeds in doubles.
Only El Diamante’s Ryan Andrada (2010-12), Bakersfield’s David Crouch (1974-76), Bakersfield’s Bill Davidson (1964-66) and Taft’s Jack Lynch (1930-32) have won three singles titles previously, according to section historian Bob Barnett. There has never been a four-time champ.
“He’s put in the work, training a lot of hours getting ready for this weekend,” Clovis North coach Brad Fernandez said of Meinert, The Bee's Player of the Year the past two years. “He’s playing at a different level.”
The winner of the Meinert-Germeroth match will face the winner between No. 8 Joseph Moua of Sunnyside and No. 9 Robbie Ellis of Clovis West in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Friday.
The semifinals and finals are Saturday at times to be determined.
Meinert enters the tournament 19-0 on the season and 74-2 in his career in singles. His only career loss to a section opponent came in May of 2014, when he dropped a 6-2, 6-2 decision to Garces’ Dylan Simonsen at the Lynch Cup tournament in Bakersfield.
Meinert, as the third seed, avenged that loss two months later with a 6-0, 6-1 victory against No. 2 Simonsen during the semifinals of the section individual tournament before beating East Bakersfield’s top-seeded Kaleb Johnson 6-0, 6-0 in the final. Meinert defeated Bullard’s Viran Batth 6-1, 6-3 in last season’s section singles final.
Simonson is the third seed and Johnson No. 5 in this weekend’s tournament.
Other top seeds include No. 3 Bailey Gong of Central Valley Christian, No. 4 Brandon Park of Stockdale and No. 6 Nick Jaramishian of Bullard.
After Vander Beek and Shin in doubles, Clovis North’s Miles Hale and Stephen Pimentel were seeded second, followed by No. 3 Travis Bakker/Sawyer Fisher of Immanuel, No. 4 Brandon Cornelius/Gatlen Hockersmith of Sanger, No. 5 Andy Ferdinansen/Cody Castro of Clovis West and No. 6 Andre Paradise/Andrew Huang of Stockdale.
Vander Beek and Shin, who are attempting to become Clovis West’s second straight doubles champions following Addison Weil and Sean Lindenau last season, open against the No. 16 team of Brandon Joke/Sebastian Gomez of Liberty-Bakersfield at 11 a.m. Friday.
Doubles quarterfinals are at 3 p.m. Friday, with the semifinals and finals Saturday at times to be determined.
Team playoffs – Freshman Christian Gomez won a third-set tiebreaker 11-9 for the deciding point as fourth-seeded Immanuel topped No. 3 Central Valley Christian 6-3 for the Central Section Division III title.
It was the second straight section crown for the Eagles, who beat Central Sequoia League rival CVC 5-4 in last season’s D-III final.
Top-seeded Corcoran, meanwhile, outlasted East Sequoia League rival and second-seeded Sierra Pacific 5-4 for the D-V title.
It was the first section boys tennis title in school history for Corcoran.
The section three other divisional team titles will be determined Wednesday with No. 1 Clovis North hosting No. 2 Clovis West at 3:30 p.m. at Copper River Country Club in D-I, No. 2 Garces hosting No. 4 East Bakersfield in D-II and No. 1 Selma hosting No. 11 Dinuba in D-IV.