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Boys Tennis: Freshman Gabriel Sardo, Oswego doubles team realize state goals

Ryan Parr knew he had a talented tennis player when Gabriel Sardo arrived at Oswego.

Parr, Oswego's tennis coach, was familiar with Sardo from elementary school.

"I knew he'd be a good player; I'd seen him around the tennis courts, and knew he would be a stud," Parr said. "He also surprised me with stuff that he could do."

Sardo indeed didn't disappoint.

The Oswego freshman capped off a strong first high school season with a berth at the state tournament. Sardo, who was second in the sectional meet, lost his first match at state, then won one in the back draw before bowing out.

"His goal was to make it there, which was a huge accomplishment," Parr said. "He played well."

Sardo was joined at state by the doubles team of senior Max Blount and junior Darren Li.

Sardo posted a 25-8 record this year. He had a big win against Ryan Mitchell of Lincoln-Way East, a top 16 seed at state. Sardo was a straight-set winner in the conference championship match.

"I can't wait to see what he does the next few years," Parr said. "He is not afraid. He goes out there, it doesn't matter who he is playing he'll raise his game. Right now he is a very good defensive player. As his body matures he's going to become an animal out there."

On the ride home from state, Sardo was already thinking ahead.

"On the way home he's like 'Are we starting fitness on Monday?'" Parr said. "He's a tennis gym rat. He can compete with anybody."

Blount and Li, like Sardo, realized their goal of reaching state.

The Oswego doubles team took third at the conference tournament, and also at sectionals, posting an 18-14 record on the season.

"It was fun to watch them grind," Parr said. "They always brought the intensity."

Parr considered Blount, "100 percent, our team leader."

"He's vocal work-wise, he's been an amazing player for four varsity seasons," Parr said. "The way they have worked the last few years, they should be proud with how they played."

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