BLOG: Dallastown's Koons begins his state title quest
Holden Koons is ready to take his second swing at a PIAA state championship.
The Dallastown High School sophomore has already claimed two York-Adams League and two District 3 boys' singles tennis crowns in Class 3-A.
This weekend, he'll take part in his second state 3-A singles tournament.
The event is set for Friday and Saturday at the Hershey Racquet Club.
Koons' first-round foe in the field of 16 is Great Valley freshman Sameer Gangoli, the fifth-place finisher from District 1 (suburban Philadelphia).
Koons knows first hand that District 1 players are a force to be reckoned with. In last year's tournament, Koons dropped his first-round match Strath Haven's Xandy Hammitt, the third-place finisher from District 1, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
In addition, the defending state champion, Downingtown East senior Michael Dickson, is also from District 1. Dickson also won a silver medal as a sophomore.
Luckily for Koons, however, Dickson is on the other side of the bracket, meaning they could not meet until the finals. In addition, the player that Dickson beat in the state finals a year ago, Robby Shymansky of Fox Chapel, is also on the other side of the bracket. Shymansky, a sophomore, was beaten in this year's District 7 final by freshman Connor Bruce of Peters Township.
If Koons manages to win his opener, he will face the winner of the match between District 6 champion Nick Vanden of State College and District 1 runner-up Matt Robinson of Lower Merion.
With two wins Friday, Koons would advance to Saturday's semifinals, where Bruce could be waiting.
The other district champs in the field are: Ivan Dokov of Central (District 12), Alec Thomas of Cathedral Prep (District 10), Ben Tauber of Nazareth (District 11), Bailey Harris of Abington Heights (District 2) and Rajan Alagar of Obama Academy (District 8).
The first-round matches are set for noon Friday, followed by the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Friday. The semifinals are 11 a.m. Saturday, with the championship and third-place contests set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
Koons would have to win four matches over two days to claim the state crown.
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.