Prep tennis | Lakewood Ranch's Ashley Bongart rolls into Class 3A-District 10 final

jlembo@bradenton.comApril 2, 2014 

TREASURE ISLAND -- If you can't find Ashley Bongart on the tennis court, try an area track.

Lakewood Ranch's No. 1 singles player is doing the high jump this spring for the track and field team, and though tennis is her favorite, jumping over a bar serves a purpose, too.

"It's like a hobby. I like to do it," the junior said. "It's a lot of fun. ... I'm in better shape when I do it."

Bongart had plenty of fun Tuesday during the Class 3A-District 10 tennis tournament at the Treasure Island Golf and Tennis Club. The top-seeded Bongart didn't lose a set and meets Largo's Alexis Franco at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the final.

The winner earns an automatic bid to the individual singles state tournament, which begins April 15 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

"I just went in and played how I expected to and just got the job done," Bongart said. "What it comes down to is going out there and doing what you're expected to do or supposed to do."

Bongart is ranked 12th in the state. Franco is 14th.

"It'll be a good match," said Ed Bongart, Lakewood Ranch's girls coach and Ashley's father. "Probably be one of (Ashley's) toughest high school matches, other than (last year's) state final, that she's had in the last three years."

Ashley plans on playing in college and has already made a number of unofficial visits, including trips to Alabama and Auburn.

She also is looking at Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Kentucky and Tennessee.

"I always told my dad as a little girl that I really want to go to a big school," said Ashley, who has earned a wild-card bid for this year's Sarasota Open, which is at the same time as the state tournament, "that has big athletics. I like sports in general. I'll watch any sport."

Bongart's teammate, Taylor Beliveau, made the finals at No. 4 singles and will play Venice's Erica Dempsey.

Braden River's Larissa Bolt is a finalist at No. 5 singles and faces Laura Dempsey, also of Venice.

On the boys side, Lakewood Ranch's Titus Strom takes on Sarasota's Andre Johnson at No. 1 singles.

The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be played Wednesday.

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