Chase Healey made it an unforgettable week at the high school state tennis tournament for local players.
The junior at Christ’s Church and reigning All-News4JAX tennis player of the year won his second consecutive overall Class 1A state championship with a three-set thriller over Miami True North’s Dylan Chang, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7, on Wednesday at Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford.
“In the second set we were just battling it out,” Healey said. “I could tell he was just a little more tired than I was and that’s where I found the confidence and will to win.”
Healey’s history, coupled with Ponte Vedra’s team Class 3A state championship a day earlier in a grueling 4-3 victory over St. Petersburg, made it a spectacular outing for area players.
In pulling off the rare double, Healey became just the second local boys tennis player in state history to win back-to-back titles. Only Duval’s George Yenawine in 1922-23 has won consecutive overall titles. Only six players in a history that dates back to 1922 have won three overall state championships. Healey could make that seven.
“I definitely hope so,” Healey said of a shot at a threepeat in 2023. “Hopefully I’m healthy next year and still want to do it.”
Healey breezed through his quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Tuesday, beating Master’s Academy’s Ryan Powell, 6-0, 6-0 and Carrollwood Day’s Aidan Gionis, 6-2, 6-0 to reach the individual final. Healey had little trouble there, beating No. 2 seed Matthew Hewitt of Clearwater Central Catholic, 6-3, 6-1.
Healey needed everything he had to make history. Chang came back to win the opening set and had a jump on Healey in the second, a back-and-forth set that wound up breaking Healey’s way.
“At the end of last year’s championship I went into a little bit of a slump,” Healey said. “I really trained hard at the beginning of the season with all my coaches. I knew I could get back here.”