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Reagan’s Totorica, Boerne’s Koth capture championships

After a pair of close calls in previous years, Reagan’s Kyle Totorica longed to wear a UIL state tennis gold medal.

The Rattlers’ senior finally earned one Wednesday after defeating El Paso Coronado’s Ian Uraga 7-5, 6-4 to capture the Class 6A boys singles title at Northside Tennis Center.

“It feels awesome,” Totorica said. “Third try at state. It’s awesome to finally win it senior year.”

Totorica, who is signed with Xavier University (Ohio), won his first gold in his third trip to state. He was runner-up as a freshman and a state semifinalist last season. His sophomore season was canceled due to the pandemic.

“As a freshman, I played really well and kind of didn’t know the situation,” Reagan coach David Daniel said. “He had the weight of expectation both last year and this year. He felt he should win it and that’s a lot of pressure on a kid.”

Totorica was the city’s first 6A boys singles state champion since Tito Moreiras of Churchill in 2012.

Totorica was one of two state winners from the area on Wednesday.

Boerne sophomore Justin Koth defeated Longview Spring Hill’s Zach Couch 6-3, 6-4 to win the 4A boys singles championship. Koth was a semifinalist last year.

After securing the championship point, Totorica was hugged by Daniel and then swarmed on the court by his Rattlers teammates. He wore his gold medal and held a championship plaque as he posed for photos.

“I actually didn’t know they were giving me a plaque,” ​​Totorica said. “That’s pretty cool.”

It was a well-earned title for Totorica, who suffered from severe cramps while defeating Southlake Carroll’s Collin Scruggs 7-6 (1), 6-4 in Tuesday’s semifinals.

“It was a really tough match yesterday,’”Totorica said. “I was cramping up pretty bad in the second set, especially at the very end. I knew if I got through those last couple of games, I’d be good. … I pushed through it and had a good recovery and came out ready to play.”

Trouble mounted early for Totorica in Wednesday’s final after he fell behind 5-2 in the first set.

“I really needed to focus,” Totorica said. “I was getting distracted by everything. I wasn’t really playing my game. I got down in the first set. I to lock it in and focus on the footwork, on my mind, and I started to play a lot better.”

Totorica righted himself and won five straight games to win the first set and carried that momentum to the second as he went up 3-0.

“In the beginning, I think he was trying to play too perfect,” Daniel said. “I told him, ‘Get beyond that. It doesn’t have to be perfect — you just have to win.’”

Uraga fought back and won four straight games to take a 4-3 lead. Totorica held serve to tie it at 4 and then broke Uraga’s serve to go up 5-4. Uraga fought off one of two match points, but Totorica sealed the title when Uraga’s return shot sailed wide.

“I’ve started playing a lot better,” Totorica said of Uraga. “He wasn’t missing as much. He was being more aggressive. I maybe lost a little bit of focus, but same thing as the first set, I just had to turn it around and play my game again.”

Koth used an array of slices and over-the-top shots to keep the hard-hitting couch off-balance. Koth showed patience and great court coverage as he kept the ball in play.

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