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High school boys tennis

Unbeatens' showdown: Rams edge Windjammers for state Class A title

Camden Hills, ranked third in North, won all its matches but state finale, losing 3-2 to Kennebunk
By Zack Miller and Ken Waltz | Jun 13, 2021
Photo by: Zack Miller Camden Hills' Noah Thackeray looks to make a forehand return against Kennebunk on June 12 in the state Class A high school boys tennis championship match in Lewiston. The Rams beat the Windjammers 3-2.

Lewiston — One year after being sidelined by the pandemic, the Camden Hills boys tennis team stepped on the courts for their initial practices in early April and, about 10 weeks later, the Windjammers' bid to finish as unbeaten state Class A high school champions fell short by the slimmest of margins.

North champion Camden Hills and South titlist Kennebunk, also undefeated on the campaign, battled stroke for stroke in three individual and two doubles matches on Saturday morning, June 12 for Class A supremacy at Lewiston High School and it, ultimately, came down to a few more executed shots by the Rams, which gave them the state crown 3-2.

Watch videos and see 75 photos below.

The competitive foes were tied 2-2 when the season's final match was decided at first singles, which seemed appropriate given the talent level and depth of the squads.

"I thought we were in it," said Windjammer coach Jesse Simko. "We won two [matches] straight out, and we had another match that was right on the fence that could have gone either way. I thought all my kids came to play. They brought their heart and we left it all on the court, which is exactly what we wanted to do."

It was the first boys tennis state title in Kennebunk history. The Ram girls captured the state net crown in 2003.

The 2021 Windjammer court program, guided by coach Jesse Simko, includes Liam O'Dwyer, Wilson Fedarko, Will Jurek, Noah Thackeray, Ezra LeMole, Lincoln Pierce, Espen Wold, Kyan Mohammadi, Angus Carter, Owen Markowitz, Alex Todd, Lucas Wyman, Sam Van Lonkhuyzen, Gardner Griffin, Lane Cortese, Oscar Horovitz, Matthew Brown, Tanner Robinson, Rhys White and Ryan O'Farrell.

Camden Hills (14-1) finished third in Class A North before it beat, in order in the regional playoffs, No. 6 Skowhegan (8-6) 5-0, No. 2 Brunswick (11-3) 5-0 and No. 1 Hampden Academy (13-2) 5-0.

Kennebunk (16-0), the top seed in Class A South, beat No. 2 Thornton Academy of Saco (13-2) 3-2 in the regional final, after two earlier postseason victories.

The state Class A match results, with Camden Hills players listed first, were: In singles, LeMole lost to George Cutone, 1-6, 2-6; Markowitz lost to Will Smith, 1-6, 0-6; and Thackeray beat Jaxson Redmond, 6-2, 6-0.

In doubles, Pierce and Mohammadi lost to Owen Chestnut and Cooper Durcan, 4-6, 2-6; and Wold and O'Dwyer beat Matt Durcan and Sean Horgan, 6-2, 6-4.

"I thought I played really well," said LeMole. "Midway through the first set I thought I dropped the ball a little bit. My tennis wasn't as good and started missing it a little more because George was hitting some nice shots and partially because pressure was getting to me.

"I definitely felt the pressure, especially for the seniors on our team, so that was sort of the motivation, since I have next year. It's also tough when you go up against the number one boy in the state."

"Ezra going into the match, his mindset was to give [Cutone] everything he can and throw the kitchen sink at him and show his heart and leadership," said Simko. "He's going to be a big leader for me next year, so it was important he didn't give in and never let up, and he didn't."

"I had never played George before, just heard the stories," LeMole said. "I came out and won the first game and got some nerves out of the way. Probably would have been better if I lost [the first game] to keep some of the nerves, because it seemed like after that I got steamrolled the rest of the first set.

"It was impressive to play against someone that good. I wasn't disappointed at all with my performance."

During the regular season, Camden Hills earned nine 5-0 match victories, one 4-1 win and a 3-2 decision, that against Midcoast-rival Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, which advanced to the Class B North semifinals.

The Windjammers, who have a storied, championship-driven court history, won Class B state titles in 2017, 2016, 2005 as Camden Hills and 1992 and 1991 as Camden-Rockport, while being state runners-up in 2015, 2014, 2010, 2004, 2003, 1995, 1990 and 1989 in that class.

In Class A, the Windjammers were runners-up to Falmouth in 2018 and 2019, before 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19, and then runners-up to Kennebunk in 2021.

Regional final

Apparently, Camden Hills, hungry to get back to its love for the game, had a considerable amount of pent up frustration after being forced to miss the 2020 spring court campaign due to the pandemic.

The unbeaten Windjammers certainly made up — in spades — for lost time in 2021 in impressive, dominating, championship fashion.

Oh, and they won three straight high school regional postseason matches, two against higher-ranked foes, 5-0.

No. 3 Camden Hills defeated No. 1 Hampden Academy 5-0 on Tuesday morning, June 8 to capture the Class A North championship at Lewiston High School.

"It feels great," said Simko. "The boys have really put in their work this year and it's showing. We are really glad to have that shot at [the state title] and that's all we can ask for.

"We've had a number of our senior players who have been able to lead the charge and really provide a good basis for our younger players to understand how we do things, and create a good culture."

In Tuesday morning's regional championship match, the individual results, with Camden Hills players listed first, were: In singles, LeMole beat Owen Flannery, 6-3-6-3; Markowitz beat Oliver Bois, 7-5, 6-1; and Thackeray beat Liam Castrucci, 6-4, 6-3.

In doubles, Pierce and Mohammadi beat Will Airey and Finn Castrucci, 6-1, 7-5; and Wold and O'Dwyer beat Tate Clough and K.J. Morse, 6-0, 6-3.

"We were disappointed we weren't able to play last year because we were hungry for it," Simko said. "[We] definitely still have that hunger and we are happy to have the opportunity."

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

Camden Hills versus Kennebunk boys tennis
Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 11 in high school boys tennis in Lewiston. (Video by: Zack Miller)
Camden Hills versus Hampden Academy boys tennis
Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in high school boys tennis in Lewiston. (Video by: Zack Miller)
State Class A boys tennis champions for 2021 from Camden Hills Regional High School include, front from left, Liam O’Dwyer, Kyan Mohammadi, Espen Wold and Wilson Fedarko; and back, coach Jesse Simko, Alex Todd, Noah Thackeray, Owen Markowitz, Lincoln Pierce, Sam Van Lonkhuyzen, Angus Carter and Ezra LeMole. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston.
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Kennebunk on June 12 in state Class A high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Class A North boys tennis champions for 2021 from Camden Hills Regional High School include, front from left, Alex Todd, Kyan Mohammadi, Espen Wold, Liam O’Dwyer and Wilson Fedarko; and back, Ezra LeMole, Sam Van Lonkhuyzen, Angus Carter, Owen Markowitz, Lincoln Pierce, Noah Thackeray and coach Jesse Simko. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Camden Hills and Hampden Academy on June 8 in Class A North high school boys tennis championship in Lewiston. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
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