Monday, July 22, 2024

Orange tennis players cap remarkable careers with All-Ohio honors

WOOSTER—Orange senior tennis players Chika Nwaozuzu, Ace Bloom, and Gabi Kalir closed out their high school careers with All-Ohio honors at the 2024 OHSAA Division II state tournament on Friday.

Chika Nwaozuzu

Nwaozuzu earned his fourth All-Ohio honors after placing second in the singles competition.

He teamed up with Kalir to win the 2023 OHSAA Division II doubles state title, placed fourth in the 2022 singles tournament, and teamed up with his brother, Josh, to win the 2021 state doubles title.

Nwaozuzu opened his second singles state tournament with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Bryan’s Landon Bassett and then beat Columbus Academy’s Nason Lo in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 1-0 (inj. ret.). He advanced to the championship bout with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Seven Hills’ Adi Nayak.

After winning the first set against Bexley’s Henry Lessard in the championship match, 7-6, Lessard regrouped and went on to win the match with 6-3, 6-3 set wins.

Gabi Kalir and Ace Bloom

Kalir competed in his fourth straight state title while Bloom is a three-time state qualifier.

As a freshman, Kalir teamed up with former Lion Jake Goldstein to reach the state tournament. The Orange duo dropped their first match of the tournament. Kalir and Goldstein finished as the state runners-up in 2022, and Kalir and Chika Nwaouzu won the 2023 doubles state title.

Bloom and Krish Mehra finished fourth in the 2022 state doubles tournament and Bloom and Gabe Guiler qualified for the 2023 tournament but dropped their first-round match.

Kalir and Bloom opened the 2024 tournament with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Indian Hill’s Michael Ryu and Eschaan Gandhi then beat Ontario’s Hector Sanchez Vidal and Pablo Sanchez Vidal in the quarterfinals, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

A 6-2, 6-0 win over Indian Hill’s RJ Poffenberger and Neelan Gandhi sent the Orange duo to the championship match, where they lost to Lexinton’s Ethan Remy and Dylan Catanese, 6-2, 7-5.

Junior Adam Saab and Guiler went 1-1 in the state doubles tournament.

The Lions will compete in the Ohio Tennis Coaches’ Association state team tournament on Saturday.

Hawken junior Axel Neely also qualified for the singles tournament but he dropped his first match, and juniors Tyler Snyder and Anthony Piazza also went 0-1.




Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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