By Steve Breazeale
San Clemente’s Nic Valko and Ryan Mariano are making the best of their top seeding in the CIF-SS Tennis Championships and earned a berth in the playoff tournament’s next stage after going a perfect 2-0 in the first round of doubles competition.
Valko and Mariano earned a bye in the first round and only had to play two matches on May 22. The duo wound up winning the two matches convincingly. First, Mariano and Valko took down a team from Trabuco Hills 6-1, 6-0 and then defeated a team from Sunny Hills 6-0, 6-1.
Their performance in the tournament’s round of 32 ensured they will get a bye in the upcoming round of 16, to be played on May 31 at 11:30 a.m. at Seal Beach Tennis Club in Huntington Beach.
The Tritons doubles team of Billy Whitaker and Matt Greenberg was unable to compete in the tournament due to an injury Whitaker sustained in practice the night before competition. Whitaker fractured his elbow according to head coach John Stephens. Stephens said that CIF officials would not allow a substitute to fill in for Whitaker, forcing the tandem to drop out of the playoffs.