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Buffington wins state tennis title
Westlake’s Colton Buffington holds his championship plaque after winning the Division I Singles State Championship on Saturday. SPECIAL TO THE MORNING JOURNAL
In his fourth appearance in the state tournament, Buffington defeated Liberty Township Lakota East senior Zach Mueck, 6-2, 6-3 in the state final.
“The feeling was overwhelming,” Buffington said. “It was crazy to know that so few people have won a state title, and playing in front of my friends and my family. I had a huge fanbase. It was overwhelming.”
Buffington got off to a great start against Mueck in the final, taking a 4-0 lead in the first set. Mueck took two of the next three games, but Buffington finished off the first set on his serve.
He fell behind in the second set 1-2 before taking control and assuming a 5-3 lead, four points away from winning it all. Buffington broke Mueck’s serve in the final game to win the championship in his final high school match.
“I got my first chill when I won the first set 6-2,” Buffington said. “I got an overwhelming chill all over my body that was like, ‘Oh my God, this is real. I’m ahead, I’m one set away from winning this thing.’ Then I really started to think about it when I held (serve) at 4-3 to go up 5-3.”
After making the match-winning point, Buffington dropped to his knees at the back of the court and clenched his fists in celebration.
Buffington reached the state semifinals for the second time after winning his first two matches on Friday.
He faced Walsh Jesuit’s Aaron Sandberg in the state semifinals and beat him, 6-2, 6-3 to advance to his first state final match.
Buffington, who will play tennis for the University of Louisville next spring, finished the regular season undefeated, dropping only one set in his senior season.
He was eliminated in the quarterfinals last season and finished in third place in 2010 at the state tournament.
“He deserves to be a champion because he has the heart of a champion,” Westlake coach Jeff Mannies said. “He worked so hard to do it and then to be there and see him play better than I have ever seen him play, and be so focused and win it is an amazing moment, truly.”
“I think Colton was in a zone and dominated the first set completely,” Mannies said. “He did in the pace of the points, the length of the points and was just cracking the ball.”
Mannies said the moment was special for Buffington because of how much he wanted to win this championship.
“Since he was four, he has dreamt about this,” Mannies said. “He was worked and conditioned and lifted weights and studied and worked so hard, the emotions that were expressed at the end were just years of work and dreaming.”
Last Updated: 5/26/2012 11:19:30 PM EST