Palisades wins 15th consecutive City Section boys tennis title

Four days after falling one match short of the CIF Boys’ singles title at the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, Lorenzo Brunkow got a second chance to win a championship and this time he was not about to let it slip away.

The Palisades High junior swept all four of his sets at the No. 1 position, dropping two games in the process, to lead the top-seeded Dolphins to a convincing 18.5 to 11 victory over second-seeded Granada Hills for their 40th City Section championship and 15th in a row on Monday at Balboa Sports Complex in Encino.

“The trips with the team were fun and it helps to see a little of what the college environment will be like,” said Brunkow, an early commit to UC Santa Barbara, where his brother Gianluca is a junior on the Gauchos’ men’s squad. “It was important to continue our coach’s legacy and keep the title streak alive.”

Brunkow, a highly ranked junior player, opted to try high school tennis for the first time this spring and no one was more pleased with that decision than Palisades coach Bud Kling, who collected his 31st title with the boys since 1979 to go along with 21 he has won with the girls since 1985.

“It’s always a pleasure [playing Granada Hills], it’s exciting tennis and we look forward to it each year,” Kling said before handing out the first-place medals to his players. “I’m sure we’ll see you guys again 12 months from now.”

Only once in its record title run has Palisades played an opponent other than Granada Hills in the finals. The two schools have met nine straight times, including six consecutive in the Open Division. Palisades beat the Highlanders 26.5 to 3 to begin its present dynasty in 2009.

Reigning City singles champion Neel Joshi won his first three sets at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0, before being subbed out for the last rotation with the team title already clinched. The Dolphins won five of the nine doubles sets (each with one and half points), with the No. 3 duo of Liam Findley and Eli Konecke upsetting Granada Hills’ No. 1 tandem of Aydan Fatu and Aiden Moufarrege 7-4 in a tiebreaker.

Palisades’ No. 1 duo of Caleb Scott and Max May won the title-clinching set with a 6-1 victory over the Highlanders’ third team of Ashton Park and Eric Kang. Sophomore Kristian Sharma, Granada Hills’ No. 1 player, lost 6-2 to Brunkow but rebounded to win his next two sets 6-0, 6-0 before he was subbed out for teammate Ceferino Dolarte in the last rotation.

Granada Hills still has not won a City boys tennis title.

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