Clint Davies and Jonah Cooper have known each other for more than a decade and have used that familiarity with each other to excel as a doubles team, qualifying for the PIAA Class AA doubles tournament that will start Friday in Hershey.
"I've known [Jonah] for 11 years," Davies said. "We played baseball together; went to the same church; and we started tennis around the same time and played a lot together."
Davies is a senior and four-year starter for Blackhawk. Cooper is a sophomore and in his first year on the team.
Although Cooper lives in the Blackhawk School District, he actually attends Beaver County Christian School, but is able to play for the Cougars under a "co-op agreement" after the school sent in the requisite paperwork to the WPIAL.
"[Jonah] was really excited about it," Davies said. "It's been a really great start for him and he's looking forward to the next two years."
Davies and Cooper were the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, respectively, for the Cougars and both qualified for the WPIAL Class AA singles tournament, but they advanced further as a tandem.
The duo finished third at the WPIAL doubles tournament, outlasting Greensburg Central Catholic's Bargo Patel and Dan Seamans in three sets in the consolation match to qualify for this week's PIAA tournament.
"It's a huge accomplishment for them to make it," Blackhawk coach Nathan Lowery said. "It's a huge accomplishment for the school, too. "
Lowery started coaching at Blackhawk in 1996 as an assistant, and said it's the first time during his time at the school that anyone from the Cougars has qualified for the state tournament.
Now the Blackhawk duo is looking to make some noise in Hershey. Davies and Cooper will play District 6 champion Josh Remilliard and Adam Trexler of Central Cambria at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Hershey Racquet Club.
Sewickley falls short at states
Sewickley Academy has an accomplished singles trio in seniors Colin Kaye, Will Kleeman and Patrick Dellinger.
Kaye and Kleeman are four-year starters, while Dellinger has started the past three seasons.
Kaye won the 2012 WPIAL singles championship. Kleeman has been a member of a tandem that has won the past three WPIAL Class AA doubles titles and Dellinger won one district doubles title with Kleeman and qualified for the WPIAL singles tournament this season.
But the trio was no match for Lancaster Country Day's top three players Saturday in the PIAA Class AA team tournament semifinals.
Blaise Casselbury, Spencer Rhoads and Wesley Davis beat Kaye, Kleeman and Dellinger, all in straight sets, in a 3-1 victory for Lancaster Country Day.
"The singles players for Lancaster were too strong," Sewickley Academy coach Whitney Snyder said. "Anytime your team is unable to win a set in singles, you just tip your hat to the other team. We have very strong singles players, but they were just too strong."
Despite the loss, Snyder was happy with how his team played not only on Saturday, but all season. The Panthers won another section title and their 10th consecutive WPIAL team championship.
For the Panthers' three singles players, as well as Moyer, Saturday was the last match in team play in a Sewickley uniform. Kleeman said playing for the Panthers is something he'll always remember.
"In all seriousness, it was my greatest experience at Sewickley," Kleeman said. "Everyone talks about the education, but the relationships and memories I have from tennis are things I'll never forget."
Back to Hershey
After winning the WPIAL doubles title with Kleeman, Kaye said he would give up playing the state doubles tournament if Sewickley could win the state team tournament.
Well, the Panthers came up short last weekend as a team, so now Kaye and Kleeman will have to look to win the doubles tournament instead.
"I think their chances are good," Snyder said. "Colin is our No. 1 singles player and Will is a dominant doubles player. He has won three WPIAL doubles titles. And most of the best players from other teams will be playing in the singles tournament."
Kleeman finished third in the PIAA doubles tournament last season with Patrick Dellinger. The team that beat the Sewickley duo, two-time state champions Sam Borowsky and Max Blumenthal of Harriton, were seniors last season.
Thus, the Panthers are considered one of -- if not the -- favorites to take the crown.
But Kleeman will not be 100 percent. He is battling tendonitis in his right wrist that has caused him to miss some practice time and needs physical therapy.
Kleeman said he'll be ready to go this weekend, however.
"It's a little bit limiting and I don't have as much kick on my serve as I want," Kleeman said. "But I'm going to go out and give everything I have."
Kaye and Kleeman will start the state tournament with a first-round matchup against South Williamsport's Bryce Jones and Christian Cioffi Friday morning at 10:30 at the Hershey Racquet Club.