TENNIS: Cambridge Claims Boys’ Title

WEST LIBERTY – It was a bit nippy on the hilltop Thursday. But it wasn’t enough to cool off Cambridge’s rackets.

The Bobcats, behind twin brothers Cody and Connor Engstrom, claimed their first boys’ title since 2007 as the OVAC Tennis Championships concluded at West Liberty University’s Edgar Martin Tennis Complex.

Cambridge finished what it started Tuesday when it led after the doubles round.

”I’m very pleased,” Bobcats coach Mike Denniston said. ”They played hard and well and played with class and good sportsmanship.

”We knew it would be a tough tournament … it always is. We’re just pleased to come out on top.”

The Bobcats finished with 20 points to claim the overall and Class 5A crowns. University followed with 16 and Morgantown had 15. Parkersburg South scored 12 points, followed by Brooke (11), Wheeling Park (8), John Marshall (6), Wheeling Central and East Liverpool (4), Linsly, Madonna and Indian Creek (2), and Steubenville and Weir (1). Oak Glen didn’t score.

Wheeling Central and East Liverpool tied for the Class 4A-1A crown. Tournament Director George Frazier said after going through all of the tiebreaker scenarios both teams remain deadlocked. Therefore, both teams will receive a trophy and be invited to the OVAC Banquet of Champions (May 13) where they will pick up their banners.

It was a banner day for the Engstroms, who also teammed up to win the No. 1 Doubles crown Tuesday.

Cody Engstrom jumped out to an early lead against John Marshall’s Hayden Blazer in the No. 1 Singles final and held on for an 8-5 victory.

Blazer, a junior, was the only area player to reach the finals.

”Experience,” Monarchs coach Mike Howard said about the difference in the match. ”A little more experience. They both hit it hard. It was a good match.”

Howard said Blazer had a great season and he’s looking forward to seeing what he can do in the West Virginia Class AAA regional tournament next Thursday and Friday back at West Liberty.

”He keeps getting better and better,”Howard said. ”So, if we can get him a little bit stronger, he’ll be back next year.”

Connor Engstrom defeated Parkersburg South’s Grant Tebay, 8-6, in the No. 3 Singles final.

”Our No. 2 Doubles team (Aaron Ruby and Kamden Payton) was unseeded so that kind of springboarded our efforts,” Denniston said.

And with sectionals just around the corner, Denniston said the OVAC victory came at a good time.

”This is excellent preparation for that,” he said. ”We’ve been able to get some kids to state the last few years and we hope to again.”

The Hawks and Mohigans split their two championship showdowns.

Morgantown’s Steven Wu defeated University’s Sven Wermuth, 8-1, at No. 2, while the Hawks’ Alex Gutierrez disposed of the Mohigans’ Daniel Pan, 8-6.

Gutierrez’s victory elevated University to runner-up.


St. Clairsville’s Alex Trouten was named winner of the Carol Strasser Sportsmanship Award. All coaches submit nominations and, from that group, a winner is drawn.