Gaona in the Game

Gaona: Parikh takes sparkling record into state tournament

2014-04-25T00:00:00Z 2014-04-25T10:46:38Z Gaona: Parikh takes sparkling record into state tournamentDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Last spring, as a freshman, Yash Parikh had a strong case to be called Southern Arizona’s best boys tennis player.

But this time around he wants to make sure nothing is left up for debate.

The undefeated Salpointe Catholic star player earned the No. 1 seed in the Division II singles tournament that begins today at Scottsdale Ranch Park at 10:30 a.m.

Parikh was the No. 4 seed in the Division I tournament last year. He lost to the eventual champion in the semifinals but won the third-place match.

That loss last May remains Parikh’s only loss in high school play. He has won 14 straight since then, and there’s no reason to believe that run will end anytime soon.

“He’s tournament-tough,” said Salpointe coach John Condes, who is trying to coach his first individual champion since 2008. “He’s been playing in tournaments for a very long time and is very focused on the court. He doesn’t get distracted.”

Parikh said he has grown both physically and mentally and has simply become a better player than he was last year. He’s also been putting in more time in the weight room and has learned that much of tennis is a mental game.

“I’m the same type of player. I grind and I don’t miss much,” Parikh said. “I’ve just put a little more on everything. I’ve gotten physically stronger and a little bit bigger.

“If I go in with confidence, I’m definitely going to play better.”

Although there are two defending champions he’d likely have to get past to win his first title, Parikh is confident and feels as if he’s playing his best tennis yet. Additionally, he has already knocked off those two opponents.

If everything plays out according to the seedings, Parikh would face fourth-seeded Luke Carstens of Scottsdale Notre Dame, who won a doubles championship last season.

The two met last week, and Parikh won 6-4, 6-2 in his closest match this season. The 5-4 win for the Lancers that day also proved to be helpful in getting them the No. 2 seed in the team tournament that begins Tuesday.

As long as Parikh gets past Carstens again to reach the championship match, there’s a pretty good chance he’d take on Catalina Foothills sophomore Mike Lee, the No. 2 seed and defending singles champion.

The two have never met in a high school match, but Parikh beat Lee 6-0, 6-0 in the finals of the High School Classic at Reffkin Tennis Center in February to win the event for the second year in a row. Perhaps that was just a preview of next Saturday’s state final.

“I don’t really care who I play,” Parikh said. “I just want to win it.”

Former Badger Robles
receives conference honor

Tucson High grad Alex Robles, the Star’s baseball Player of the Year last spring, was named the Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday. The Austin Peay freshman became the first Govs pitcher in school history to throw a nine-inning one-hitter last week against Belmont when he struck out a career-high nine and walked two in the 3-0 win. Robles is 5-2 with a team-best 3.50 ERA through 64º innings and leads the team with a .353 batting average. He will be the starting pitcher today against Eastern Kentucky.

Former CDO golfer Metz wins RMAC championship

David Metz, a Canyon del Oro grad, helped lead the Western New Mexico men’s golf team to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship by winning the individual title. The senior shot a 2-under 216 over the three-day tournament at the Golf Club of Estrella in Goodyear. His best round came on the second day when he shot a 5-under 72. Metz and the Mustangs will next head to Austin, Texas, for the NCAA Division II South Central/West Super Regional on May 5-7.

Bobcats DL Wright signs with NAIA school

Cienega senior Tyler Wright signed a letter of intent last week to play for NAIA Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. The 6-foot, 220-pound Wright started at defensive tackle last fall, averaged 3.7 tackles per game and had two sacks before he suffered a torn ACL which caused him to miss the final four games of the season.

Corner tabbed to coach Marana boys team

Kevin Corner has been named the boys basketball coach at Marana High School. Corner is a 1992 graduate of Mountain View High School, an experience that “provided me with a powerful foundation for success in life,” he said.

“I am thrilled to teach the next generation of student athletes the values of hard work, commitment, relentless effort, and teamwork toward a common goal,” he said in a release. “The values that I learned from athletics are the fabric of my life.”

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at 807-7761 or dgaona@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @DanielGaona13

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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