The Wiregrass Ranch High (WRH) boys tennis team, arguably the most successful athletic program in Pasco County the past few seasons, fell just short of winning a third State tennis championship in five seasons.
The Bulls, champions in 2014 and 2015, fell to Parkland Stoneman Douglas High 4-1 in the Class 4A championship match on April 27 in Altamonte Springs. Noah Makarome, who was undefeated in his previous two singles matches, and Destiny Okungbowa were both playing their first sets when the match was called after Douglas clinched the title with their fourth win (out of seven lines).
Josh Abrams, the Bulls No. 5 singles player, pulled out the only victory for WRH in the final by defeating Jabari Cole 6-1, 2-6, 11-9, to finish 3-0 on the week.
The Bulls fell behind quickly when Douglas captured both doubles matches in convincing straight sets.
Wiregrass Ranch, which is 111-2 in head-to-head matches since 2010, during which time it hasn’t lost a Pasco County match, had to battle hard to reach the finals.
In the state quarterfinals April 26, it defeated Fleming Island 4-1, as Makarome won 6-4, 6-1, at No. 1 singles, Jared and Josh Abrams picked up wins at Nos. 4 and 5 singles and Kanishkh Ramesh and Okungbowa won at No. 2 doubles with a 4-6, 6-4, 10-2 victory.
The semifinals, played earlier on the same day as the finals, saw the Bulls defeat Tampa’s George Steinbrenner High 4-2 with the same combination of winners.
Makarome, who has signed to play at the University of Pennsylvania next year, defeated Nicholas Cary 6-3, 6-1, at No. 1 singles, and the Abrams brothers both won their singles matches, with Jared winning 6-4, 6-0, at No. 4, and Josh winning 6-0, 6-0, at No. 5.
Ramesh and Okungbowa won at No. 2 doubles 6-4, 6-3. The title was the first for the Douglas High tennis team.