Otay Ranch tennis team tops Canyon Crest team for CIF mixed doubles title

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The Otay Ranch High mixed doubles team of Marlon “M.J.” Abarca and Emely Valencia may go down in history as the only duo to win a San Diego Section CIF mixed doubles championship.

Abarca and Valencia, both sophomores, rallied from a set down and won the final three games of the third set for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over sophomore Jackson Codd and junior Katie Codd, of Canyon Crest Academy, at Barnes Tennis Center on Thursday afternoon.

Just a couple of hours earlier, both teams needed a deciding tie-breaker to reach the championship, including the Codd siblings’ 3-6, 6-4 (14-12) semifinal win over La Jolla’ Carson Kellogg and Tatum Buffington.

The mixed doubles format was included for the first time in the section’s athletic calendar after tennis was conducted as a coed sport for the first time in team competition as a result of the revised schedule because of the pandemic.

In a matchup of top seeds, Westview junior Kaila Barksdale won the girls’ singles title for the second straight season, defeating Otay Ranch sophomore Arianne Pepa, 6-2, 6-4.

The Canyon Crest Academy team of seniors Alex Atwell and Praneet Varade defeated La Costa Canyon’s Ian Collins and Jenson Miller, 6-2, 6-1, to capture the section boys’ doubles title. The champs upset the top-seeded team in the semis.

The top-seeded girls’ doubles team of juniors Lyna Fowler and Asha Gidwani defeated teammates Taylor Shimizu and Lillia Finnegan, 6-0, 6-1, in an all-Raven finale. Fowler won the doubles title last season (’19) with her older sister, Emily.

On Tuesday, St. Augustine senior Noah Zamora won the boys’ singles title over Bishop’s senior Michael Abagyan, 6-0, 6-1. Zamora was recovered from minor injuries to his feet and legs after crawling away from a rollover crash last August.

Scott is a freelance writer.



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