Koons' silver medal leads locals in District 3 boys' tennis singles tournament

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

Dallastown's Hayden Koons had a match point in the District 3 Class 3A boys' tennis singles final on Saturday but ultimately fell in three sets and settled for silver after two brilliant days at Hershey Racquet Club.

Koons took the first set of the final match against Hempfield's Cooper Lehman, who fought back to repeat as district champion with a 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 victory. Both sophomores will compete in the state tournament later this month.

Two other local standouts are moving on to states as well. Red Lion's Cooper Wheeler reached the Class 3A semifinals before losing to Lehman, while Biglerville's Guillaume Schmitz fell to Lancaster Country Day's Nile Abadir, who left Saturday a three-time district champion. Wheeler and Schmitz finished third and fourth in their respective tournaments.

Eight York-Adams League athletes qualified for the district bracket through their performances at last weekend's league tournaments. Hanover's Charlie Zitto won his opening match in Class 2A play Friday before getting swept away by Abadir in the quarterfinals. Dallastown's Andrew Chronister drew Lehman in the first round of the 3A bracket (losing 6-2, 6-2), while Kai MacLennan dropped a three-set battle in the opening round against Cedar Crest's Viseth Meng. Littlestown's Cyrus Marshall and Bermudian Springs' Parker Sanders lost their opening matches in the 2A draw.

Koons — who not only won the county singles tournament but also captured the doubles title with Chronister — was seeded second in the draw and beat Cumberland Valley's Ross Kluger 6-2, 6-1 in the first round. He then topped Reading's Zach Schrader 7-5, 6-2 to secure one of four semifinal berths and state tickets. His match against No. 3-seed William Ong of Cumberland Valley was level at 5-5 before Ong was forced to retire with an injury.

Wheeler won 6-3, 6-3 against Cedar Crest's Rocco Shkreli on Friday morning, then knocked off No. 4-seed Teddy Snyder of Exeter by a 6-4, 6-0 margin. The York-Adams League singles and doubles runner-up lost 6-1, 6-1 against Lehman and took third place uncontested due to Ong's injury on Saturday.

Red Lion's Cooper Wheeler during the York-Adams boys tennis doubles championship in York on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

Schmitz had not dropped a set, let alone a match, all season before running into Abadir on Saturday. He won 6-2, 6-1 against Conrad Weiser's Jio Garcia in Friday's first round, then took out Garcia's teammate, Armaan Malik — who ousted Bermudian's Sanders — 6-0, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. After a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Abadir, Schmitz took the opening set of the 2A third-place match before losing to Lancaster Catholic's Stefo Billis, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Most of these players will be back in Hershey next Friday and Saturday for the District 3 doubles tournaments. Koons and Chronister beat Red Lion's Wheeler and Andre Nadeau in the 3A final, while Sanders and Eli Snyder won the 2A title for Bermudian Springs over Schmitz and Biglerville teammate Sean Sneed. Zitto and Brian Corona will be in action for Hanover, as will Dallastown's Bobby Nicholson and Neil Patel.

Dallastown and Hanover are also still alive in their respective district team tournaments. The Wildcats, seeded No. 3 in Class 3A as they seek to defend their title, handled Lampeter-Strasburg 4-0 on Thursday, while the Nighthawks exacted revenge against Biglerville, 3-2, in the 2A bracket after losing to the Canners in the regular season. Both teams will be in action on the road Monday — Dallastown at Cumberland Valley and Hanover at Conrad Weiser — before playing either for a district title or third place on Wednesday.