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Kranz repeats as champion

Mike Kranz doesn't take winning the Section VI Tennis Championships sitting down.

The Lancaster senior, who stays on his feet even during breaks, stood tall on Wednesday as he beat junior Mike Rusk of Williamsville East, 6-0, 6-4 to repeat as champion. "I just can't sit down. I just like to stay moving around, that way my feet keep moving and I don't get lazy out there," said Kranz. "When it was 3-0 in the first set, I knew I was doing exactly what I wanted to do."

The match was a contrast of styles as Rusk gets plenty of mileage from his big serve and big shots while Kranz relies on footwork and a steady game. Kranz was down love-40 before coming back to win the final game of the match. The final was a rematch from last week's ECIC Championship, won by Rusk.

"We just had a battle, we hit balls hard and he got the best of me," said Rusk. "He pounced on me [in the first set]. He was going after my backhand and my serve was a little rusty."

It's the second year in a row Kranz lost in the ECIC final and came back to win sectionals.

Kranz, Rusk and senior Brian Chowaniec of Lancaster advance to next week's New York State Championships in singles. Chowaniec's victory came in a way no one could have imagined when Williamsville South sophomore Joe Bartelo walked off the court down 3-0 in the third set signaling a withdrawal.

Section VI chairman Terry McMahon was serving as a line judge during the match. "He yelled so he got a point penalty. Then he bounced his racket off his shoe and that is a game. I said if you do something else, it's the match, and he said, 'well, I quit anyway,' and he walked off," said McMahon.

Advancing in doubles was Kevin Layer/Joey Gentile of Clarence, Sawyer Dina/August Bruno of Orchard Park and Jacob Hofmar-Glennon/Tyler Moore of Amherst. Layer and Gentile went through ECICs and sectionals without dropping a set.

It's Layer's third trip to states and the second trip for the doubles team. "This year we definitely don't want to be there just for the trip," said Layer. "We want to make a run for it, and see what we can do."