Pine Crest, 2015 DecoTurf High school Tennis Team Championships Girls A Division Finalist, claimed the Florida Class 2A tennis state championship in emphatic style, winning the No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 singles events, as well as the No. 2 doubles final. The girls from Fort Lauderdale collected 16 points for their efforts, 6 more than runner-up Lake Highland Prep.
Led by co–captains, seniors Kaely Malik and Ines de Bracamonte, along with sophomore Stephanie Taylor, Broward County’s reigning Girls Player of the Year, the Panthers produced a dominant performance to take home the title.
For most teams, finishing first at the state championships is the hardest task. For Pine Crest, getting there for only the second time in 34 years was arguably the toughest endeavor. Back in February, Pine Crest coach Bret Krutz wasn't even sure whether its team can come through the regionals after Miami’s Gulliver Prep, the 2014 State Champions in Class 2A moved into Pine Crest’s region.
“We’re probably one of the top two or three teams in the state in [Class 2A],” Kurtz said in an interview for Miami Herald. “If we get to regionals and face Gulliver, whoever wins that might win state.” Two months later his words would become prophetic.
Pine Crest began its preparation for the district tournament by finishing as runner-up at the prestigious 2015 DecoTurf High school Tennis Team Championships Girls A Division. The Panthers went on to defeat their arch rivals Gulliver Prep 4-1 in the regional final, booking a well-deserved place in the state championships.
Once they have reached the promised land, Pine Crest seized the opportunity and dominated the proceedings from the get-go. The girls took inspiration from the Panthers’ boys who also overcame Gulliver Prep, and were crowned champions three years ago.
Stephanie Taylor reached the semi-finals of the Girls’ No. 1 Singles bracket, before losing in straight sets to Katherine Sidor 6-1, 6-0. Daniele Obolevitch won an epic final in the No. 2 Singles event. After cruising in the semi-final past Sydney Clark 6-1, 6-1, Obolevitch played a marathon match against Kaylan Rotman, decided only in a tie-break set 6-4, 5-7, 11-9. The 17-year-old added a second winning the No. 2 Doubles competition with Ines de Bracamonte. De Bracamonte/Obolevitch rolled to a 6-1; 6-1 victory over Stanton's Derstine/Hamzagic in the final.
The honors kept coming thick and fast for the Pine Crest players. Kaely Malik strolled past the top seed Kaitlin Reuther 7-6(2), 6-3 in the No. 3 Singles final; fifteen-year-old Carly Feldman handed two bagels to Kate Henley in the No. 4 singles decider, while eight-grader Demi Snyder lost just one game on her way to the title at No. 5 singles.
This marvelous success is testament to Pine Crest’s togetherness, belief and “never give up” attitude. The Panthers, who also showcased their talent and skills on the biggest stage as a finalist at the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships, deservedly became Florida Class 2A State Champion. The state title is the Panthers first outright title in school history and the second overall after sharing the title with Saint Stephen's Episcopal School in 1981. Having tasted success on the state stage, the girls from Fort Lauderdale will make sure they don’t have to wait another 34years for the next trophy.