Muraika, Cedar Crest claim county tennis titles
Jack Muraika is one of those athletes that believes the work you put in when no one is watching is just as important as how you perform when they are.
Such competitors are often referred to as champions.
That's what Cedar Crest sophomore Muraika became on Saturday at the 23rd annual Lebanon County Boys Tennis Tournament, after capturing his first county singles title with a 6-2, 6-2 championship win over emerging Palmyra freshman Ben Clary at windswept Cedar Crest High School.
Muraika's triumph made it four of the last five years the county singles title went to a member of his family. His older brother, Colin Muraika, reigned supreme for three straight years, from 2013-15.
It also helped Cedar Crest to its second straight outright team title, as teammates Dylan Tull (Flight 2 singles) and Tim Cheng and Ryan Knapp (Flight 2 doubles) joined Muraika in collecting championship hardware.
"It's only a 1 1/2 hour match, but if you really think about it winning a match like that is going to practice every day, working hard, and training well and eating well," Muraika said. "Even though it's only a short match, it's reflective of hard work and dedication through the off-season."
"He works so incredibly hard," said Cedar Crest coach Mike Rohrbach of his No. 1 player. "He'll stay after practice and do extra sprints on his own. Not too many kids are doing extra sprints on their own after practice."
Muraika worked hard on Saturday as well - harder than the match score indicated. Clary jumped to a 2-1 lead in the first set as Muraika struggled early to find his best form.
"I knew he moved really well," Muraika said of Clary. "And he's pretty consistent. I came out a little tense,but after a few games I settled in."
Indeed, after the slow start Muraika reeled off 7 games in a row to establish control over the match for good and secure another goal - keeping the team championship at Cedar Crest and keeping the Falcons on track for more team goals.
Help in that regard came from freshman Tull grabbing a pair of 6-0, 6-0 victories to claim Flight 2 and Cheng and Knapp not dropping a set en route to their Flight 2 doubles title.
The only non-Cedar Crest title went to Elco's Dawson Smith and Adam Omar at Flight 1 doubles after a 6-3, 7-5 win over Crest's Adam Brightbill and Max Mesaros.
"That was a great win," Rohrbach said. "Coming into the day I thought we had a great chance of winning 1 and 2 (singles). Dylan Tull has been absolutely magnificent as our No. 2 player - we wouldn't have won half of the matches we have without him. And the doubles, I knew we had our work out cut for us. I'm very happy but a little surprised with how well we did."
23rd Lebanon County Boys Tennis Tournament
(at Cedar Crest)
Jack Muraika (Cedar Crest) bye
Mason Bennetch (Elco) def. Nick White (Northern Lebanon) 6-0, 6-0
William Klatchko (Annville-Cleona) def. Luke Foster (Lebanon), 6-0, 6-1
Ben Clary (Palmyra) bye
Muraika def. Bennetch, 6-0, 6-2
Clary def. Klatchko, 6-0, 6-0
Muraika def. Clary, 6-2, 6-2
Dylan Spitler (Elco) bye
Alex Mease (Lebanon) def. Aiden Powell (Northern Lebanon), 6-1, 6-0
Quinn Marcus (Palmyra) def. Koy Alwine (Annville-Cleona), 6-0, 6-2
Dylan Tull (Cedar Crest) bye
Spitler def. Mease, 6-1, 6-0
Tull def. Marcus, 6-0, 6-0
Tull def. Spitler, 6-0, 6-0
Brendan Byler/Evan Yost (Palmyra) bye
Max Mesaros/Adam Brightbill (Cedar Crest) def. Deybel Andujar/Liam Maguire (Lebanon), 6-0, 6-0
Drew Speraw/Sam Mintz (Annville-Cleona) def. Thomas Schwartz/Brenden Madeira (Northern Lebanon), 6-3, 6-1
Adam Omar/Dawson Smith (Elco) bye
Mesaros/Brightbill def. Byler/Yost, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5)
Omar/Smith def. Speraw/Mintz, 6-2, 6-3
Omar/Smith def. Mesaros/Brightbill, 6-3, 7-5
Brett Bohannon/Ryan Woelfling (Elco) bye
Dennison Guardado/Bahvya Patel (Northern Lebanon) def. Bryce Spangler/Cameron Maya (Lebanon), DQ
Tim Cheng/Ryan Knapp (Cedar Crest) def. Dan Tobias/Liam Nyce (Annville-Cleona), 6-1, 6-1
Cameron Mitchell/Garrett Elliott (Palmyra) bye
Bohannon/Woelfling def. Guardado/Patel, 6-0, 6-1
Cheng/Knapp def. Elliott/Mitchell, 6-3, 6-1
Cheng/Knapp def. Bohannon/Woelfling, 6-3, 6-2.
Final Team Standings
1. Cedar Crest 19
2. Elco 10
3. Palmyra 3
4. Annville-Cleona 2
5. Lebanon, Northern Lebanon 1