BELLEVILLE — Fresh off his second straight trip to the IHSA state tennis tournament during the spring, Michael Lesko of Waterloo continues to wrack up the victories.
Ignoring hot and humid conditions, Lesko defeated Austin Mueller of Belleville 6-2, 6-1 in the title match of the 18-year-old age group Sunday to lead the way for local players at the 14th annual Lancers Tennis Invitational, hosted by Belleville East.
The top singles player at Gibault and one of the best high school players in Southern Illinois, Lesko used his powerful groundstrokes to break the serve of Mueller early and often as he rolled to the straight-sets win on the East tennis courts.
The title is the second of the summer for Lesko, who won the Webster (Mo.) Junior Open two weeks ago.
"I'm playing a lot of tennis this summer, probably four-to-seven days a week and then I usually play in a tournament every weekend,'' Lesko said. "This (Lancers) tournament was probably one of my better ones. I played pretty well in all my matches.''
Lesko, who will be a senior at Gibault, was one of 132 players who competed in the three-day Lancers Open, which as usual, featured many of the top players in the metro-east.
Unfortunately, O'Fallon standout Mehal Amin wasn't as fortunate as Lesko. Playing in the 15-16 division, Amin lost his title match to Kylil Gilliam of St. Louis 7-6, 6-1.
Edwardsville native Alex Gray became a rare four-time champion when he defeated Robert Baisch of St. Louis 6-3, 6-2 in the 13-14 age group, while Grant Bowman of St. Charles, Mo., defeated Evan Potter of O'Fallon 6-0, 6-0 in the boys 11-12 final.
In the girls division, Merideth Heitland of St. Louis won the 17-18 age group title with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Rebecca McIsaac of Swansea.
Kylie McCarthy of Troy defeated Kaky Bott of Belleville 6-3, 6-1 in the 15-16 group title match while Isabel Burwitz of Swansea defeated Chloe McIsaac of Swansea 6-1, 6-2 in the 13-14 division.
Ella Kinder of Fenton defeated Lauren Cowalich of Swansea 2-6, 6-1,11-9 in the girls 11-12 final.
In boys doubles, Adam Youck and Lucas Birk defeated Aaron Skaer and Jacob Hamilton 9-8 to win the 17-18 title. Other doubles champions included Mehal Amin and Sienna Marat (15-16) and Max Skaer and Christian Cowalich (13-14).
Winning doubles crowns in girls divisions were Rebecca McIsaac and Savannah Martin (17-18), Kaky Bott and Sara Mohrmann (15-16), Chloe McIsaac and Lauren Buscher (13-14) and Maddy Hamilton and Ally Thomas (11-12).