ATHENS, Ohio — A different doubles postseason partner for Pierce Wilcoxon was ultimately the same superior result.
That’s because, for the second consecutive season, Wilcoxon will be representing the Gallia Academy High School tennis team in the Division II state tournament.
A year after he teamed with his sister Adriana, and the two qualified for the state meet, Wilcoxon will be joined this season by fellow junior Miguel Velasco.
Wilcoxon and Velasco, joining forces for the postseason exclusively, captured the Division II Southeast-East District doubles tournament —held on Saturday and Sunday at Ohio University’s Golf and Tennis Center.
In fact, the Blue Devil duo lost just four entire games in its three district matches — all of which were straight-set sweeps, including in Sunday’s championship match against the Logan Em club.
Wilcoxon and Velasco — the district meet’s top seed after winning the Division II Southeast District sectional title — swept Jonathan Reisinger and Avery Close (of Logan Elm) 6-2, 6-1.
After opening the dozen-squad single-elimination competition with a bye, the Blue Devils swept Saturday’s two matches to reach the Sunday final.
In the quarterfinals, Wilcoxon and Velasco blanked Trey Hillson and Drey Hillson of Steubenville 6-0, 6-0.
In the semifinals, and with a win clinching a state tournament berth no matter the result on Sunday, they swept the Miami Trace tandem of Matt Fender and Seth Leach (6-1, 6-0).
It was the second tournament triumph for Wilcoxon and Velasco over Fender and Leach, as the Blue Devils actually blanked them in the sectional semifinals.
As a result of the three weekend sweeps, the GAHS pair has now played — and won — the minimum 16 sets, while having only dropped five total games.
Their only other loss of a game was in the sectional championship — against the Portsmouth Clay combination of Gage Keller and Nate Hinze.
The top three teams from the Southeast-East District meet advance to the state meet —and join the other 13 combined qualifiers from the Southwest (four), Northeast (four), Northwest (three) and Central (two) districts.
Wilcoxon, for the past two years, won the sectional doubles title and automatically qualified for the Division II district meet with Adriana.
A year ago, the Wilcoxons won their initial district bout but lost in three sets in the semifinals — but bounced back to claim the third-place tilt and automatically punch their tickets to the state.
Like he has in his first two seasons at Gallia Academy, Pierce played in singles competition prior to tournament play.
He was the Blue Devils’ second singles player, while Velasco — a first-year GAHS student-athlete — starred at first singles.
The district meet featured four sectional winners from the East District and eight sectional winners from the Southeast District.
For Pierce, he has now been part of an amazing 21 tournament match wins — having won 13 the past two years with his sister.
He and Velasco will have a maximum four more matches at the state, which will be held inside the outdoor Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
The single-elimination bracket features 16 clubs, with the opening round and quarterfinals set for Friday.
The semifinals and state championship matches are set for Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.
Last year, the Wilcoxons lost 6-0, 6-1 to the senior twosome from Gates Mills Hawken.
The complete Division II doubles bracket, as part of the entire state tennis tournament coverage page, can be found on www.ohsaa.org.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106
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