Aten, Central among leaders
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Champaign Central’s Austin Aten was at his best Thursday.
In three previous appearances at the boys’ tennis state tournament, Aten had won once in the main draw, bouncing back in previous years for eight wins in the consolation bracket.
In his final trip as a high schooler, Aten posted back-to-back straight-set wins in the main draw — a feat matched by the Maroons’ doubles duo of Michael Yoo and Gabe Mitchell — and remains in contention for a medal after a third-round setback to an opponent seeded in the 9-16 grouping.
“He had a couple of good wins and then lost a really hard-fought match,” Central coach Scott Davis said. “Austin is in a good frame of mind. Hopefully he can win two or three more and still get in the top 16.”
For the season, Aten has a 33-2 record.
In all, Central won four matches in the main draw, plus one in the consolation bracket during first-day action. Davis’ team was tied for 15th entering the second day.
Yoo and Mitchell (23-4) swept past their first opponent and then topped a Neuqua Valley duo 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.
“I knew they would be competitive, but that was quite an accomplishment,” Davis said. “We’re hoping they can finish in the top 32.”
Central’s Hayden Dodds lost a first-round match in singles but recovered for a 6-2, 7-6 (5) triumph in the consolation bracket before suffering a second loss in the double-elimination event.
Central’s doubles team of Ian Gidcomb and Nikhil Thope went 0-2.
Overall, Davis said, “It was a good day.”
One other area entry still remains alive at state.
Centennial’s doubles team of Andrew Scaggs and Patrick Kearney dropped a first-round decision before regrouping to win three consecutive matches in the consolation bracket, the second one in which they lost the first set 7-6 (5).
In singles, the Chargers’ Sunny Singh was eliminated after back-to-back losses.
The other area entry, St. Thomas More’s Travis Tressler, won his opening-round singles match 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 before bowing out with two consolation-bracket setbacks.
Centennial was tied for 66th in the team standings with three points. STM had two points and was tied for 80th.