Groff, Yurconic win D-11 doubles crown
So many times, there are potentially great story lines that just never come together. A number of impressive factors all fell into place Monday when Salisbury's Mason Groff and John Yurconic downed Adam Kramer and Abbhi Sekar from Moravian Academy 6-4, 6-3 to win the District 11 Class AA Doubles Championship at Lehigh University.
The beginning of the story actually goes back 30 years, when Yurconic's dad won the singles championship while playing for Salisbury in 1985. Two years later, his younger sister Monica equaled the accomplishment when she was a singles champion for Salisbury. The two siblings were always competitive, so it's no surprise that they were both champions. "I taught her everything she knows," joked the older John Yurconic of his younger sister.
As luck would have it, both had children that would go through school together and both are now at Salisbury High School.
Fast forward to last winter, when the two cousins decided they were destined to be doubles partners and started training to become doubles champions.
"Throughout the entire winter we've been playing together and we were starting to practice doubles back then," said Mason Groff. "We knew we were going to be on the same team and just getting out here and playing with him, it's a great feeling."
Their plan of playing for a doubles championship almost came to an end when Yurconic faced Moravian Academy's Zach Shaff for the singles title. Had Yurconic won that match, he wouldn't have been able to team with his cousin to fight for gold in the doubles segment.
"In a weird way, we wanted John to do well in the singles, but quietly, we were hoping that he wouldn't make it for singles, because we selfishly wanted the boys together," admitted Monica Yurconic-Groff of the opportunity that awaited the younger champions.
Yurconic and Groff were pretty well in command throughout the match and picked up a 6-3 win in the first set. It looked like they would make quick work of Kramer, who Yurconic defeated in the semifinals of the singles tournament, and Sekar, when they went up 5-1, but the rivals from Moravian Academy fired back to take the next two games and make it 5-3.
That's when the Salisbury sophomores had enough.
"At 5-3, I told Mason 'we're not switching sides again,' and it was great to keep our word, if you can say that," said Yurconic.
The two teams didn't switch sides again as Yurconic's serve quickly ended the second set for the win.
"Being that close to states, there's going to be some nerves here and there," admitted Yurconic. "Give credit to them, they played a great match. I thought they played really well, they hit shots when they needed to and they got on a roll those two games.
"It's awesome. To come that close to it last week was definitely tough, but to come out here with Mason, we're like brothers out there on the court. We have the perfect chemistry and we can always bring each other out of the hole. That showed today; we had some adversity out there, but we pulled it out."
Yurconic and Groff now head to Hershey to compete in the PIAA Tournament on May 22-23. Both are confident, as are their parents, that they will be able to play well and possibly come home with some impressive hardware courtesy of the PIAA.
The two give credit to their parents for helping them to succeed and say they didn't put any pressure on them to win. Instead, they were told to just do their best and show good sportsmanship. Neither of the parents brought up their championships to their kids, but the younger members of the family aren't making any promises.
"Now we'll have a trophy to wave in front of them,"said Groff with a laugh. "And maybe a couple more."