Posted: 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 6, 2014

Stephanie Johnson, Clare McKee, Post girls tennis players of year



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Stephanie Johnson and Clare McKee —Girls Tennis Players of the Year photo
Madeline Gray
Clare McKee, left, and Stephanie Johnson, both of Boca Raton High School, were selected as co-girls All-Area tennis players of the year for 2014. (Madeline Gray / The Palm Beach Post)

By Jodie Wagner

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

BOCA RATON —

A pair of Boca Raton sophomores took the girls state tennis championships by storm this spring, lifting their Bobcats team to a second-place finish in the Class 4A team competition at Altamonte Springs.

Stephanie Johnson, 16, and Clare McKee, 15, both won singles championships at the event and competed in the doubles competition, though not with each other.

“It was pretty challenging, but I managed to get through it,” said Johnson, who played No. 5 singles at the state tournament and No. 2 doubles. She did not drop a set in singles play and won her championship match 6-3, 6-1.

She and doubles partner Carlye Goldman reached the quarterfinal round.

McKee, playing No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles, had a tougher time getting through the singles draw. She needed three sets — two went to tiebreakers — to beat top seed Sarah Baron of Orlando-Dr. Phillips in the semifinals and then won her championship match by a close 7-5, 7-6 (5) score against Shene Disbergen of Weston-Cypress Bay.

McKee also played No. 1 doubles and advanced to the semifinal round with partner Megan Horn.

“It was really exciting,” said McKee, who advanced to the state semifinals last season as a freshman. “In my second-round match I was kind of an underdog to the No. 1 seed. We had a marathon match. It was really exciting. It’s different in high school because you have your whole team cheering you on.”

Both McKee and Johnson, who did not play high school tennis last year, are longtime tennis players who play the sport year-round and train daily.

They compete in a variety of United States Tennis Association events throughout the year, but took a break for the high school season.

Both enjoyed spending time on- and off-court with their Bobcats teammates.

“I had a really good experience with my team this year,” McKee said. “We all got close. It was a good year.”

Johnson and McKee played key roles in leading the Bobcats to the state tournament, coach Wanda Carter said.

Johnson, who also ran track during the tennis season, played in the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 singles positions and went 15-0 with district, regional and state championship titles. She also went 7-2 at No. 2 doubles.

McKee, who took a month off during the season to rest an injured back, went 13-0 at No. 1 and No. 2 singles and also was a district, regional and state champion. She finished 10-2 at No. 1 doubles.

“We’re so proud that Clare was healthy enough to compete at districts to help our team become district champions,” Carter said. “And Stephanie’s attitude was awesome. She said she would play any position we needed her to.”

Both hope to return to the Bobcats for their junior and senior seasons, followed by college and professional careers.


FIRST TEAM

Ally Sexton, Benjamin, Sr.: District and regional champion at No. 1 singles went 13-2 for the Bucs. Won one match at the state tournament.

Kasey Moore, American Heritage, Fr.: Won district, regional and state championships at No. 4 singles for the Stallions. Finished 14-1.

Sophia Chavarria, Oxbridge Academy, Fr.:Went 6-1 at No. 1 singles and 11-0 at No. 1 doubles with partner Rachel Bercovitch. The pair advanced to the state finals.

Carlye Goldman, Boca Raton, Jr: Finished 15-3 at No. 3 and 4 singles and won district and regional championships. She placed second at state in singles and also played No. 2 doubles.

Angelica Blake, American Heritage, 7th: Won district and regional championships at No. 2 singles and advanced to the state semifinals. Finished 14-3.

COACHES OF THE YEAR

Wanda Carter, Boca Raton; Brian Schleifer, American Heritage: Carter’s Bobcats tied for second in the team competition at the Class 4A state tournament. Boca also had two singles state champions. Schleifer’s Stallions placed second in the team competition at the Class 1A state tournament, with one state singles champion and two runners-up.

SECOND TEAM

Megan Horn, Boca Raton, So.

Caroline Hsu, St. Andrew’s, Sr.

Lindia Izidor, Park Vista So.

Rachel Bercovitch, Oxbridge Academy, Fr.

Melissa Sakar, American Heritage, 8th

HONORABLE MENTION

Benjamin: Anamaria Gomez, Velvet Sahm; Berean Christian: Victoria Meldrim, Cecelie Ross; Boca Raton: Meisha Kendall-Woseley; Boynton Beach: Kenalda Julien, Hannah Stevens; Jupiter Christian: Kylee Shipley; Oxbridge Academy: Keehle Amicon, Christine Pangborn; Park Vista: Ashley Brown, Taylor Purcell; Pope John Paul: Katarina Sperduto, Alena Costanian; Suncoast: Natalia Pluta, Gaby Ringvald; Spanish River: Rachel Delaney, Christie Kurdys.

 
 

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