By Dave Heeren
7:41 p.m. EDT, April 16, 2013 Sun Sentinel
CASSELBERRY – Defending overall state champion Rasheeda McAdoo drew most of the attention, but it was a sixth-grader who scored the clinching point for American Heritage-Delray on Tuesday.
The Stallions cruised to their eighth girls’ Class 1A team tennis title after Angelica Blake routed Heather Boehm of runner-up Ransom Everglades 6-2, 6-0 for the No. 4 singles title.
The victory made the 12-year-old Blake, in her first year of varsity tennis, one of the youngest players ever to win a state high school tennis championship in Florida.
“I got really excited when I won,” Blake said. “My dad told me after the match that he didn’t want me to know that if I hadn’t won, the title could have gone either way.”
Even though Blake is only a sixth-grader, she’s been playing tennis for nine years. “My dad handed me a racket when I was three years old. It was bigger than my face. I wanted to go right out and play.”
McAdoo won the No. 1 singles title and teamed with sophomore Mia Horvit to take the No. 2 doubles. Horvit won the No. 2 singles title as the Stallions pulled away to a 16-11 victory over Ransom Everglades.
Coincidentally, McAdoo also started playing tennis at age three on the encouragement of her father, Hall of Fame basketball player Bob McAdoo.
“Dad started me with a balloon, hitting it back and forth,” she said. “Once he got me a racket, all I wanted to do was play tennis the rest of my life. I still do.”
McAdoo said her father didn’t want her to play basketball because of the high risk of injuries. Bob McAdoo, who attended Tuesday’s matches at Red Bug Lake Park, agreed.
“I was afraid about the knees in basketball. You can get injured very easily,” he said. “Personally, I started out in baseball and football before basketball. But I was getting broken up in football and I was starting to grow long and lean.”
The girls’ title was the sixteenth overall for the Stallions in sixteen years. They have also won eight boys’ titles. twelve inches ends around here. The rest can go online.
“It’s been consistent for us,” said Brian Schleifer, who has coached the boys’ and girls’ teams all sixteen years. “I can’t say enough about Angelica. She is such a competitor. Her tennis IQ is beyond her years. Rasheeda is great. Mia is outstanding. And our No. 5 player, Lyndsey Kaplan, won a huge match.”
In individual play, the St. Andrew’s doubles team of Andrew Dykeman and Ross Weisman advanced to the finals. Dykeman took second place in singles. In girls’ play, Kylie Shipley of Jupiter Christian took second place in singles, and Ali Sexton and Shelbi Smolak of Benjamin placed second in doubles.