Slipping after banana
Cleveland State is getting a gamer in Nolan Marks. The Kenston senior was the epitome of agony at the end of his Division I quarterfinal tennis match against Evan Bechtel from Toledo St. John's Jesuit on Friday in Hilliard, Ohio. Dealing with leg cramps down the stretch, Marks battled through the pain only to lose on a third-set tiebreaker, 8-6, when his final return found nothing but net. Even eating a banana late in the match did not help loosen up the legs. "I locked up, serving, 4-5," said Marks, who will be playing for the Vikings in the fall. "I had to keep moving. I gave it all I have." Earlier in the day, Marks got his first victory in four trips to state when he defeated Gahanna Lincoln senior Jesse Shriver, 6-2, 6-3. "This year has been the best," said Marks, who went 23-4. "Not only for me, but for our team. It's been a great year, and I can't be disappointed."
Orange senior Sam Ubersax was also looking for his first Division II state win in three trips. He did not get it as he lost to Cincinnati Country Day freshman Patrick Wildman, 7-5, 6-2. "I heard he was a scrapper just like me, and he eked out that first set," said Ubersax, who will be attending Amherst (Mass.) College. "I broke a string at 5-5 and had to adjust to a new racket. But no excuses and no regrets. It just sucks not to get a win at state."
St. Ignatius senior James Oliver, making his first trip to state, did not get out of the Division I opening round as he lost to Dublin Coffman senior Hiromi Nakayama, 6-3, 6-1. "I didn't think there would be as many people," said Oliver, who will be attending Lafayette (Pa.) College. "I was nervous a little but pretty relaxed. [Nakayama] made me work for every point."
The St. Edward duo of senior Mike Swartz and sophomore Jeffrey Williams were the school's first sectional champions to make state. They lost a three-set affair to Upper Arlington, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Swartz told his 15-year-old partner to "work hard" in order to earn another trip next year when Williams will play singles. "It would have been better if we had won, but we never got mad at each other," said Swartz, who will be attending Cincinnati. "We just started playing together at the end of the year because we thought that would be the best way to make it."