Central Catholic junior Adam Blasinsky and Mt. Lebanon junior Peter Hazlett have faced off numerous times on a tennis court over the past seven years, and in the early days, it was Hazlett who usually came out on top.
"We played a lot in the 10 and 12s [age groups] and usually back then, I had the upper hand," Hazlett said. "He started to slowly catch up to me and we had a nice rivalry for a while, going back and forth with a lot of tight matches.
"But recently, he's grown a lot and he's just physically stronger than me on the court."
Blasinsky showed that in the WPIAL Class AAA singles tournament championship April 16 at Lakevue Athletic Club in Valencia, beating Hazlett, 6-2, 6-1, in a matchup of the top two seeds.
"[Blasinsky] played as well as he could play," Central Catholic coach Rick Capretta said. "He had very few errors. He was flawless."
Blasinsky, a Gibsonia resident, placed third in last season's WPIAL singles tournament, which was the highest finish among returning players.
Like this season, he entered the 2012 WPIAL tournament as the No. 1 seed, but lost to two-time WPIAL singles champion Will Nesbitt of Butler in three sets in the semifinals.
"That really motivated me to do my best this year and hopefully win, " Blasinsky said.
Blasinsky has rolled past every opponent in his path this season.
He is undefeated in team matches and lost just seven games in three Class AAA Section 3 tournament matches to win his second consecutive section singles title.
As the top seed, Blasinsky received a bye in the first round of the WPIAL tournament, then beat Section 1 champion Chad Kissell of Greater Latrobe, 10-2, in the quarterfinals and Pine-Richland's Caleb Kramer, 6-0, 6-3, in the semifinals.
That sewed up a PIAA tournament berth for Blasinsky, but his work wasn't done. He had the match against Hazlett to try to become the first WPIAL singles champion from Central Catholic.
Both players entered the tournament ranked in the top 15 in the USTA Middle States rankings as of April 18, with Blasinsky at 10 and Hazlett at 15.
But after a good start by Hazlett, Blasinsky dominated, not losing a game on his serve in winning, 6-2, 6-1, to become the Vikings' first champion.
"It means a lot for me and the school," Blasinsky said.
Hazlett hung in with Blasinsky early, leading, 2-1, with an aggressive serve-and-volley approach.
But Blasinsky was able to adjust and started peppering the corners with beautiful passing shots to win the last five games of the first set and dominate the final set.
"Whether it's his forehand or backhand, his passing shots are incredible," Capretta said.
Now Blasinsky will finish out the team portion of the season for the Vikings before heading to Hershey May 24 for the PIAA Class AAA singles tournament.
It will be Blasinsky's second trip to Hershey after playing in the state doubles tournament as a freshman.
"I expect it to be good competition and I expect I'll have to practice hard to get ready for it," Blasinsky said.