Boys State Tennis: Marian Catholic’s Childers reaches semfinals
By Josh Krockey For Sun-Times Media May 25, 2012 10:26PM
Julian Childers, of Marian Catholic, follows through on a serve during his fourth-round match against Downers Grove South's Joey Leto on Friday. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:01AM
Once Julian Childers was able to slay his fears, beating the competition was no problem.
Despite a shaky start Friday, the Marian Catholic senior won both of his matches at Hersey to qualify for the semifinal round in the Boys State Tennis Tournament.
Two more victories would make Childers the first male from an area school to win a state crown in the sport. Yet he was loathe to contemplate that possibility.
“I don’t think about going to the finals,” Childers said. “If I get too far ahead, I’ll lose my focus. I just have to take it one point at a time, one game at a time.”
Childers’ success wasn’t the only good news for Marian, which also had Mitch Zavesky and Kyle Scheffers reach the consolation quarterfinals in doubles.
As a team, the Spartans held seventh place with 21 points, their standing the best among all local squads.
Childers, a No. 3-4 seed, had a rough go of it in his first match, a fourth-rounder against Joey Leto, of Downers Grove South. Childers won 6-4, 6-3, losing the same number of games as his first three contests combined.
“My sophomore and junior year I made it to the Round of 16,” Childers said. “I wanted to do better than that, but thought I wouldn’t do better. I was nervous that I’d do the same way this year.”
With the jitters gone, Childers cruised in his next match, a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing of Deerfield’s Toby Ma, a 5-8 seed.
“He was just relentless,” Marian coach Scott Bodnar said of Childers. “He was on his game and just very determined. It was one of the best matches I’ve ever seen him play.”
Childers’ semifinal match is slated to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Hersey, the opponent being Stevenson’s Jeremy Bush, a 5-8 seed. Bush won his quarterfinal by a 6-3, 6-1 count over No. 2 seeded Sam Bloom, of Hinsdale Central.
The previous time he played Bush, in October, Childers (30-1) won in straight sets at the Aurora Challenger, a USTA youth tournament.
“I’m not nervous at all,” Childers said. “I have no doubt; I’m not going to lose. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to play him.”
Zavesky and Scheffers won four times, the last a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 marathon over Tim McAdams and Graham Lehman, of Oak Park. The Marian duo will play Highland Park’s Zacko Brint and Danny Wynbrandt at 8 a.m. at Buffalo Grove.
Homewood-Flossmoor’s Brad Holt was the final area competitor to advance from Friday. He is slated to take on New Trier’s Alex Galoustin in the consolation quarterfinals at Buffalo Grove.