Levenson, Pande, Soffin Claim State Titles

by John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer

Levenson, Pande, Soffin Claim State Titles

There’s a new king and queen in the girls’ and boys’ Division 5 state singles tournament.

Emme Levenson of Douglas Freeman High School succeeded Deep Run’s Nina Sorkin, who won four consecutive 5A titles before moving on to Virginia Tech.

The junior shares the season-ending local spotlight with Deep Run’s Shashwat Pande, as well as the Deep Run girls (5A), Hanover High girls (4A) and Maggie Walker Governors’ School girls (2A), all of whom swept to the state team championships in their respective divisions.

It was the second straight state title for Hanover and MWGS, while Deep Run won for the second time in three years.

Levenson lost only two games in her two matches, finishing with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Liza Ulanova of John Champe (Aldie) on June 7 at Glen Allen High School.

Freeman Assistant Coach Bridget Reichert said she noticed Levenson’s talent.

“I knew she was a great player and a really good fighter on the court,” Reichert said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “She had lots of passion and she’s willing to work hard.”

Reichert, an alumna of Freeman, won the state singles title in 1995 and went on to win five city women’s singles championships.

Pande dropped just three games in his run to the boys’ 5A crown. The senior at Deep Run avenged his semifinal loss to Erick Rivas of Stone Bridge (Ashburn) last year with a 6-1, 6-1 victory in the final at Glen Allen.

In other divisions, MWGS’s Anna Soffin captured her fourth consecutive Class 2 girls singles crown, beating Logan Graham of Radford 6-2, 6-1 in the final, while Ryan Bernstine of Goochland claimed the boys Class 2 title with a 6-3, 6-1 decision over Reed Crabtree of John Battle (Bristol).

Bernstine was the runner-up to his brother, Chase, in a close match last year.

In another final, Turner Cole of Hanover lost in the boys’ Class 4 division to Frank Thompson of Blacksburg 6-1, 6-2.

Four doubles teams captured a title during the tournaments. Olivia Wright and Audrey Butterworth of Deep Run won the 5A girls’ division, the Hanover duo of Madison Moore and Raine Weis took the 4A category, and Soffin and Narmeen Rashid grabbed the 2A division. Bernstine and Max Presley claimed the boys’ 2A crown.

In the team battles, Deep Run’s girls defeated Thomas Jefferson S&T 5-1 at Glen Allen, Hanover knocked off John Handley 5-2 in Salem, and MWGS beat Radford 5-1.

Both Deep Run and Hanover had to go to one doubles match before clinching.

Deep Run has all of its top six scheduled to return next spring.

Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up from the Richmond Tennis Association and have a great summer sharpening those games for another run in 2019.

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