Harry Wang is back.
He won the Section VI Boys Tennis Championship as an eighth-grader and, four years later, he’s done it again.
“It was kind of like deja vu because it happened four years ago, on this day almost,” Wang said. “It’s a lot more fun to play for your school than by yourself, and I enjoyed it a lot.”
The Williamsville North senior took his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons to focus on his personal tennis career. After committing to Lehigh University, Wang returned to North with a state championship in his sights.
After defeating Williamsville North freshman Joe Baudo (6-0, 6-0) in the semifinals, Wang faced Greg Hastings of North Tonawanda in the Section VI finals. He battled through a couple of tough matchups but won to defeat Hastings 6-4, 6-4, and continue his undefeated streak.
“That was my goal, to go undefeated,” Wang said. “Coach (Mike) Venditti did a good job coaching us all year, and I had a lot of fun with my team.”
Wang won the consolation at states in 2013, and he’s hoping for more.
“He knows most of the kids down there, and he’s beaten a bunch of them,” Venditti said. “We both feel like if he plays well, he’ll have a crack at it, and that’s really all you can ask.”
Hastings and Jonah Murphy (Sweet Home), who defeated Baudo 6-0, 6-0, will join Wang at states.
On the doubles side, it might have also felt like deja vu for Orchard Park’s Stephen Sayoc and Matt Watson. They won a Section VI title 30 years ago. On Wednesday night, it wasn’t Stephen and Matt who won, but their sons, freshman Noah Sayoc and sophomore Declan Watson, who defeated Olean in the finals, 6-4 and 7-5.
“We always see our dads’ names, ‘Sectional Champs,’ and I think it was very cool for us to get that opportunity 30 years later,” said Declan Watson.
“We’re keeping the legacy going,” added Noah Sayoc.
Playing together their whole lives has given the two younger players an unmatched chemistry.
“A lot of it was being encouraging to each other and upbeat,” said Noah.
“Noah will go through his moments and I’ll go through mine where we’re not hitting the ball how we’d like to, but the other partner is there to back you up,” added Declan.
Olean (Logan Cross/Ryan Brown) and Williamsville East, which defeated Alden 7-6 (tiebreaker 7-2), 6-2 will join Orchard Park at states.