By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Hart and West Ranch sent three of their best to CIF Sectionals on Thursday in Carpinteria.
West Ranch’s No. 1 singles Jared Admiraal and No. 1 doubles Xander Hepburn and Bryce Blaugrund took the courts at Carpinteria High School.
Admiraal finished his regular season undefeated, but unfortunately was forced to retire in his first set of the day due to a back injury.
Hepburn and Blaugrund entered the day with a first-round bye and faced Stanley Hsu and Aaron Hung from Arcadia High School.
No. 1 Hart singles Jack Burns came out strong and took an early 4-2 lead in the first set against Channel League champion Jed Greenweld of San Marcos.
Burns was unable to hold on to the momentum and lost in two tight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
Hart’s No. 1 doubles Thomas Auerbach Dinculescu and Ashton Millner won their opening-round match with the Liberty League champions Ryan Dix and Brandon Sadkin of Buckley.
The Indians’ top duo’s dominant serving and net play led them to victory in an intense 6-0, 6-7, 10-5 match.
Auerbach Dinculescu and Millner came out hot again in their second-round match with Calabasas. However, the Hart pair was unable to keep their lead and dropped the match 6-4, 6-3.
The West Ranch duo started strong and built an early 3-0 lead. However, Arcadia caught fire and battled back into the set 6-6. The Apaches maintained their momentum in the tie-breaker game, winning with a score of 6-7 (3-7). Blaugrund and Hepburn were hardly discouraged and won the second set 6-4.
The Wildcat duo had their foot on the gas and floored it, ending the last set 10-1.
Blaugrund and Hepburn moved on to face a talented San Marcos duo of Charlie Friedman and Harvard commit Masato Perera.
The duo fell with tough scores of 6-0, 6-0.
Hepburn will now head to Point Loma University to continue his athletic career.
“It was an amazing time playing with my good friend Xander today and throughout the season,” Blaugrund said. “Even though he will no longer be at West Ranch, I know that we will continue to have a special bond that has propelled us to so many victories.”
Admiraal and Blaugrund are set to return to West Ranch for highly anticipated senior years.
“The boys did an awesome job,” said Wildcats head coach Jackie Resler. “I wish all my seniors the best when they go out and make a difference.”