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Felich, Rapp CIF doubles champions

1:00 AM, May. 31, 2012 EDT

Palm Desert High School's Austin Rapp returns the ball while playing against Jack Felich. / Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

Winning the Desert Valley League doubles title a couple of weeks ago just wasn't enough for Palm Desert High School tennis players Jack Felich and Austin Rapp.

The Aztec duo continued to stamp their names on school history Saturday by winning the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section doubles championship in Seal Beach.

Felich and Rapp beat University's Drew Dawson and Ryo Shimizu 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 in the finals to become the first Palm Desert CIF champions in 15 years. Peter Gladkin and Brock Berry last won a doubles crown for Palm Desert in 1997. The Aztecs' other CIF titles came in 1995, when Dann Battistone and Andy Scorteanu won the doubles championship. Palm Desert's Eni Ghidirmic took the singles crown the same year.

"It's the greatest feeling in the world," Felich said. "This year has been one heck of a ride, and Austin and I are excited to be a part of school history."

Rapp chimed in, "I can't believe it, I'm feeling really pumped. We never stopped fighting and the hard work paid off."

After splitting the first two sets, Felich and Rapp picked up a key break in the third set to go up 3-1 and served strong the rest of the way to seal the victory. The duo are 33-1 as a team this season.

Both players said their aggressiveness was the key to their success.

Felich and Rapp defeated Henry Gordon and Alex Murray of Corona Del Mar earlier in the day. They won 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 Friday before fighting off two match points to win 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the quarters.

Felich, a senior who's heading to the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the fall, and Rapp, a sophomore, knew they were an instant fit in the beginning of the season.

"We immediately clicked and gelled as a doubles unit because we have similar playing styles," Rapp said. "We're both aggressive and like coming in at the net, and to win the doubles title is a great accomplishment."



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