HINSDALE – Hinsdale Central's boys tennis team is almost always among the favorites to win a state title.
That fact doesn't diminish the satisfaction of winning a state championship, which the Red Devils did Saturday for the third year in a row.
"We're more than satisfied," Central head coach John Naisbitt said. "The boys played well, as they did all year. I was waiting to see if the other shoe would drop, waiting to see if we would finally have a bad weekend, and we didn't.
"I couldn't be more proud."
Junior Eddie Grabill and Martin Joyce met in the singles championship match. Grabill, who won a doubles title along with Harold Martin last season, defeated Joyce, the defending singles champ, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
"We did talk to them before the match and said, 'Be good sports, care about each and represent yourselves well,' and they did," Naisbitt said. "We didn't coach them, we just let them play.
"It was a difficult match because we knew we were going to have someone lose. We were happy for Eddie but we felt terrible for Martin. But Martin is a true champion; he took it as well as you can in that scenario."
Junior Lope Adelakun and senior Chase Hamilton teamed up for second in the doubles draw, while sophomore Michael Czlonka and senior Jimmy Bruning finished fourth.
Naisbitt said that while the all-Central singles championship match drew attention, it was the play of the doubles teams that helped seal the state title.
"The doubles got the title for us," the coach said. "They did what they needed to do and they effectively propelled us to the easy team victory."
The Red Devils had the title locked up by the time the final rounds started on Saturday as Grabill, Joyce, Adelakun and Hamilton, and Czlonka and Bruning all won their first five matches at state.
The future remains bright for Central – four the the six state participants are slated to return next spring. Hamilton and Bruning graduated May 29.
"We're going to miss the two seniors greatly, but we have four returners and they know the grind," Naisbitt said. "We have every reason to believe we can be there again next year."
Senior Greg Murray and sophomore Rohan Chinwalla teamed up to go 3-2 at the state tournament.
The duo won their first two matches in the main draw in straight sets, then rebounded from a loss with a 6-4, 6-4 in the consolation bracket.
Freshman Peter Alex played in two matches in the singles draw at state but did not win a match.
1. Hinsdale Central, 56 points
2. Lake Forest, 41
3. New Trier, 34
4. Downers Grove South, 29
5. Stevenson, 27