CAMANCHE — Toward the end of the Camanche Invitational, Clinton tennis coach Jonathan Mitchell didn’t know whom to cheer for.
“I didn’t know whether to tell the parents if they should clap or not,” Mitchell said. “For me, I just had to basically let them do their own thing and not be a coach.”
The reason: Two of his players were battling for the singles championship.
Clinton won the meet, scoring 29 points, well ahead of Camanche’s 11.
In the singles championship, No. 1 seed Sameer Ansari defeated teammate Connor Nolan 8-4 after Nolan defeated Camanche freshman Nate Thoms in the quarterfinals and then KC Knack of Newman Catholic in the semifinals.
“The match was close for the most of it; the rallies were so long, but I pulled it out,” Ansari said.
Ansari may be just a freshman, but he entered the invitational as the tournament’s top-ranked player.
“Of course I knew there was the possibility that we would play each other in the final,” Ansari said. “It was weird to play Connor, though.”
The two squared off against each other Friday at practice in a “challenge match,” and there, Nolan won over Ansari.
“It’s really interesting how you can bounce back from a loss like Sameer did, and every day is different,” Mitchell said. “It was fun to watch.”
“It’s weird, because I know what he likes to do and he knows what I like to do,” Nolan said. “It’s hard to play against someone like that; it was hard to hide everything.”
Clinton and Sterling Newman took the top two spots in singles play, while the River Kings took second and third place in doubles play.
“I was really happy that the guys come out focused,” Mitchell said. “The team is always willing to listen, and really coachable, and as a first-year coach, I really appreciate that.