WEST HARTFORD >> When the marathon of a Class LL boys’ singles final began, the rooting sections for rivals Jason Seidman of Amity and Xavier’s Richard Ciamarra consisted of boisterous teammates and anxious family members.
However, when each of the boys’ tennis singles and doubles championship matches came to an end, the state’s best and brightest stars were drawn to the slugfest between the two former state champions.
Both Seidman and Ciamarra were cramping up as the final points were played nearly three hours after it began at Conard High School on Thursday.
On a day when three of the eight state champions came out of the Southern Connecticut Conference, it seemed fitting that the two conference rivals were the last two players on the court.
Seidman emerged with the hard-fought 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 victory to win the Class LL title for the second time in the last three seasons.
“We always have a battle,” Seidman said. “It is a toss up each time we play. We have such a different playing style, he goes for broke on every single ball and at the end of the match we were both cramping.
“You never can get into a rhythm with him because he goes for broke, but towards the end I think I started to dictate play because I knew my fitness level wouldn’t last so I just pushed.”
Despite their physical issues throughout the match, Seidman and Ciamarra had a classic match as they did in splitting two previous meetings this season.
“Every time we play each other we both get better,” said Ciamarra, who won a third-set tiebreaker to upset Seidman in the 2014 Class LL semifinals en route to winning the title. “It is always fun to play him because it is a close two sets or going to three.”
It was an extra special tournament for Seidman as Amity won the team title, snapping a 10-year strangehold by FCIAC powers. The last non-FCIAC team to win the LL team title was Amity back in 2004.
“I really couldn’t have asked for a better season,” Seidman said. “The team atmosphere was amazing and being able to win a state title for the first time at least in Chris’ (Raffone, Amity’s coach) career and to follow up with this is just (amazing).”
Guilford’s Powell take Class L title
While nobody was surprised to see Seidman and Ciamarra play for the LL title, nobody was more surprised that Guilford junior Evan Powell won the Class L singles title than Powell himself.
“I didn’t think this was achievable at all,” Powell said. “I didn’t think I’d be the No. 1 seed in the tournament or I’d have a chance at winning. I was just hoping to make it to the semifinals.”
Powell didn’t drop his first game in the tournament until the quarterfinals and hadn’t lost a set until the championship match.
Powell emerged with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Bobby Neuner of Darien. Powell set himself to serve for the match when he flicked a backhand cross-court volley out of the reach of Neuner. Powell promptly dropped the first two points on his serve before sealing the deal.
“I was down in the game and I thought it was going to a tiebreak,” Powell said. “I just wanted to be aggressive, I got back to deuce and then I had two easy points.
“It was unbelievable. It almost didn’t hit me that I won it there because I had the mindset I was going to go to the tiebreaker. It is unbelievable, it is amazing.”
Hand’s Pace/Wienreb best New Canaan’s doubles
There would be no such drama in the Class L doubles final as Hand juniors Andrew Pace and Daniel Weinreb rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 win over the New Canaan team of Christopher Chin and David Havens.
“At the beginning of the season our goal was to go undefeated but we lost one match and then it was to win states, every practice that is what we were thinking about,” Weinreb said.
After teaming up to form the Tigers’ No. 2 doubles team as sophomores, they moved up to the No. 1 slot and were given a lofty goal to pursue.
“Coach (Dawn Fagerquist) brought it up to us that going in we were one of the best teams in the state so that was one of the things and we said ‘OK we have to keep a good (attitude) because we can win this.’” Pace said.