Harris, Blackwood cop main titles
Daniel Harris of Hillel Academy and defending champion Shantal Blackwood of KBC Learning, captured the Burger King Interscholastic Under-18 male and female singles titles, respectively, on the final day of the four-day tournament, which ended at the Eric Centre on Sunday.
Harris, who was seeded second in the tournament, had to fight off a very tough challenge from top seed Sheldon McIntosh, before winning 6-1, 6-7, 6-2.
Harris was winning his second title in a week, following his under-18 title success in the junior circuit event in Montego Bay.
"It was very hard to make shots in the windy conditions but I made sure to play the first set aggressively and work my strong forehand to my advantage," said Harris.
Blackwood, the top seeded female player, had to ward off an even stiffer challenge, from Sicquena Sinclair, also of Hillel, before emerging 7-6, 2-6, 7-6.
After claiming the first set, Blackwood succumbed to Sinclair in the second set. Trailing 5-2 in the third and final set, Blackwood looked dead and dusted, but clawed her way back by winning five straight games to register a nail-biting victory in the tie-breaker.
Still in shock
"I am still in shock at my victory today," said Blackwood. "I thought I was out of it when I was down 5-2 in the final set, but I managed to take away Siquena's attacking game and fight my way back and I am very happy for the victory."
Meanwhile, Hillel's Simon Levy won the boys' Under-16 trophy, when he defeated Knockalva High's Horatio Ludford 6-4, 6-4.
Immaculate Conception High's Michaelann Denton won the girls equivalent in commanding fashion, walloping Sherida Brown, of Ocho Rios High, 6-0, 6-0.
Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory's Roger Lyn and Chetwood Primary's Shae-Ann Kemeka won the boys and girls' Under-14 titles, respectively. Lyn registered an easy 6-4, 6-1 win over Heinz Simonitch's Luke Therrien, while Kemeka stopped Shaeda Nickle, of Hosanna Prep, 6-3, 6-4 in a fairly competitive battle.
Lyn and Kemeka also captured the respective Under-12 titles. Lyn annhilated Neils Vandam of Heinz Simonitch 6-1, 6-0, while Kameka fought off a stiff challenge from Shaeda Nickle, before winning 6-2, 4-6, 7-3.
Hillel's Blaize Bicknell and Sts Peter and Paul's Selena Blythe won the Under-10 boys and girls' titles, respectively. Bicknell defeated schoolmate Nicholas Gore 4-0, 4-2, but Blythe had to beat away a tough challenge from Howard Cooke Primary's Iesha Sterling, getting by 4-0, 3-5, 4-1.
The Top Coach award went to Hillel's Ryan Russell, while the Most Disciplined school was St Andrew High.
Tournament referee, Jordache Deuce, was pleased with the level of competition displayed at the championship, which saw a record 208 entrants.
"I must say that it was an outstanding championship, I was so pleased to see 10-year-old Roger Lyn coming out and winning two titles," said Deuce. "It goes to show that Tennis is getting stronger and stronger in Jamaica."
That sentiment was also shared by Burger King's marketing manager, Diana Blake-Bennett who praised the efforts of the participants and the organisers.
"Burger King is pleased to be associated with the Inter-scholastic Tennis Champion-ship which is in its 15th year," said Blake-Bennett. with the level of quality tennis that was on display, the synergy between Burger King and Tennis Jamaica can only grow from strength to strength."