OAKDALE — Manteca High freshman Solmon Aniss qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament with his third-place finish in the Valley Oak League Singles Tournament on Tuesday.
Seeded fifth, Aniss was pitted against No. 3 Connor Fenton of Central Catholic to vie for the third and final berth to sections, but Fenton defaulted the match. Despite the anticlimactic end to the day, Aniss did have highlights throughout the tournament, including a mild 6-3, 7-6 (3) upset over Kimball’s No. 4-seeded Ivan Acosta.
“Solmon played some good tennis in that match to get the win and just stayed focused at the end of the second set,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “He was just mentally tougher in the tiebreaker.”
That prevented league champion Kimball from having three players in the semifinal round. Three-time singles titlist Garrett Chun blanked Aniss 6-0, 6-0 and will take on teammate Logan Le — he swept Fenton in the other semifinal, 6-1, 6-0 — Thursday for the singles crown.
After a first-round bye, Aniss defeated Sierra’s Kyle Banks, 8-2.
“This was a goal for him to make, and hard work does pay off,” Fontana said of Aniss’ advancement to the section tournament. “He is only a freshman, which shows good things can happen in the future for him.”
League runner-up Manteca had two other seeded players in the tournament. No. 6 Kyle Thornburg beat Jake Kramer of East Union 8-2 before dropping a competitive match to Fenton, 3-6, 4-6.
“Kyle played well, but Fenton played a little better at key moments of the match,” Fontana said. “That match took a lot out of Fenton.”
Si Hao Tang, seeded eighth, dominated Central Catholic’s Blaine Rocha 8-1 in his first match before running into Chun. Other Manteca Unified players making it out of the opening round were Andrew Rosette of East Union, Kent Balacy of Weston Ranch and Jameson Smith of Sierra.
Players who did not qualify for sections on Tuesday will get another shot at doing so Thursday in the VOL Doubles Tournament back at Oakdale High.