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Top Sports Stories 2016: League title, 16 years later

Southold:Greenport tennis player Mario Contreras 050216 copy

It had been a while. Sixteen years is a long time in between championships, but that only made the Southold/Greenport boys tennis team’s achievement all the sweeter.

Southold claimed its first league title since 2000 and its third overall, including one in 1993.

“That’s awesome,” Southold’s captain, Aidan Walker, said after he was informed that his team had clinched a share of the league title following a 5-2 win over Center Moriches. “Whenever you can do something that hasn’t been done in a long time in a school’s history, yeah, it’s definitely special.”

This league crown was shared. The Clippers finished in a wild three-way tie for first place with Rocky Point and Southampton. All three teams went 8-2 in the regular season.

“At the beginning of the season, we knew how far we could go,” said Dylan Van Gorden, a senior who didn’t take up tennis until the summer before his junior year. “We didn’t want to get our heads too high, but we kept practicing and doing well. It means a lot to us.”

Before the season started, coach Andrew Sadowski spoke to his players about the opportunity they had in front of them. “I said, ‘You guys have an opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in quite some time,’ ” he recalled. “I always talk to the boys about opportunity. Give yourself an opportunity for success.”

In Southold’s case, persistence paid off.

“All of us play every point,” Walker said. “We never give up on points.”

Photo caption: Southold/Greenport’s Mario Contreras. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

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