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Championship Week
Bengals and Broncos Claim Titles at USTA National Spring Team Championships
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The USTA National Spring Team Championships were in their fourth year at the Mobile Tennis Center, yet it was two first-time coaches who led the Bengals and the Broncos to victory. Bryan Minton's Broncos won the boys title with a 5-2 victory over the Patriots, while Seth Walrath's Bengals came from behind to defeat the Stingrays 4-3 to earn the girls team championship.

The Broncos - Speicher, Krug, Rogers, Coach Minton, Cacciatore, Groetsch, and Smith - won the Boys' Championship
© ZooTennis.com
The previous three years the tournament had included players from the 12s division, which meant eight players per team. The even-numbered total of four doubles matches and eight singles matches made it impossible to play a standard college format, so tiebreakers and shootouts were occasionally necessary. This year the 12s had their own Spring Team Championships in Tucson, so the Mobile teams consisted of two 14s, two 16s and two 18s players, who were allotted via a waterfall method based on USTA rankings.

With three doubles teams and six singles players, the Division I method of the best of seven points was used, and throughout the week 4-3 matches were frequent, although with every match played to completion, not all of those featured a last-match-on situation.

In order to get ahead of the rain that was predicted for Tuesday, the third day of competition, tournament officials tweaked the schedule, playing an extra doubles match on the first day, and two rounds of singles and a doubles match on the second day.

On that day, for scheduling reasons, the boys played their doubles point last, and the Broncos advanced to the finals with a dramatic 4-3 win over the Falcons. Down 4-0 in the no-ad, six-game set, the Broncos 14s team of Connor Krug and Isaac Smith won six straight games, and the 16s team of Harry Cacciatore and Cole Groetsch got a late break to clinch the doubles point and their place in the final.

Their opponents in the final, the Patriots, had beaten the Rams 4-3 in their semifinal, but the result was already decided before the doubles were played.

Harry Cacciatore helped lead the way for the Broncos
© ZooTennis.com
Morning rain pushed back the start time of the boys final on Tuesday by two hours, but the delay didn't affect the Broncos, who started strong and never let up.

The Broncos took the 14s doubles, with Krug and Smith beating Baylor Sai and Jake Krug, Connor's twin brother, 6-3. The Patriots responded by taking the 18s doubles, with Kevin Zhu and Randy Cory taking out John Speicher and Andrew Rogers 6-4. That meant the point would come down to 16s doubles, and as they had done against the Falcons Monday night, Cacciatore and Groetsch clinched the point, beating Leighton Allen and Nicholas Garcia 6-4.

After capturing four first sets in singles, the Broncos were in the driver's seat, and the Patriots could do nothing to slow them down. Rogers gave the Broncos their second point, taking the match at the 18s line 2 over Cory 6-3, 6-4. Five minutes later, Smith made it 3-0, beating Jake Krug 7-5, 6-4 at the 14s line 2.

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Page updated on Thursday, July 06, 2017
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