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 BY JEFF FALK

 MOUNT GRETNA – Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exhuberance.

 Well, not always. Especially when the youth is big, strong, quick and battle-tested.

 On a picturesque Thursday night, 17-year-old Ben Clary downed forty-something Mike Rohrbach 6-0, 6-2 in the final match, to claim the singles’ championship at the 52nd annual Mount Gretna Men’s Club tennis tournament. Clary started the match in dominant fashion, winning its first seven games, and kept applying the pressure throughout, despite Rohrbach showing serious signs of life late in the second set.

 It was the first ever meeting between Clary, the one-time student, and Rohrbach, the long-time coach.

  Yesterday’s outcome simply validated Clary’s standing as the top player in Lebanon County and one of the finest scholastic competitors in District Three. In addition to repeating as the Mount Gretna Men’s Club champion, Clary, a senior-to-be at Palmyra High School, is the possessor of two Lebanon County scholastic singles’ titles and three Mid-Penn Conference championships.

 Rohrbach, the tournament’s director, is the head coach at Cedar Crest and a six-time Mount Gretna champion. But before this year, he hadn’t been to a Gretna final in seven summers and hadn’t won a match in the event over the past two years.

 “The level of competition here is just as tough as the high school tournaments I play in,” said Clary. “There’s a lot of good players here. The competition is just as good as at the county tournament, or any tournament.

 “This is definitely my tournament,” continued Clary. “Going back-to back feels good. I felt comfortable at the end. I hit my shots. This is one of my favorite surfaces.”

  “I knew it was going to be a tall task,” said Rohrbach. “But it’s tougher than it looks. After the second game, it was apparent his game was much stronger than mine. I didn’t even sniff game points. He’s that good of a player.

 “He just kept going stronger and stronger,” added Rohrbach. “I really appreciated his calmness. He played within himself. He’ll be fun to follow this spring.”

 With the first set in his back pocket, Clary opened the second by holding serve. Rohrbach followed suit to capture his first game of the match and tie the set at a game apiece.

 But using two service breaks, Clary captured the next four decisive games to open a commanding 5-1 advantage. Rohrbach did answer back with a break of his own, but it would prove to be his last gasp.

 “He got loose in the second set,” said Clary of Rohrbach. “He was running around in the second set and I was impressed by how quick he moved. I think he got better in the second set.

 “We definitely have a similar style,” Clary continued. “He’s a little older and not quite as fast. My baseline game was a little better. I just played the way I know how.”

 “It took me eight games to know how hard he hits the ball,” said Rohrbach. “He didn’t even blink. I had to pick up my serve. I got two games, and I almost got a third.

 “You have to be able to hit with him, hit through him,” Rohrbach added. “You’ve got to win points at the net. It’s a bad match-up for me. He does a lot of the same things I do, but way better.”

 From the baseline, Clary met little resistence in the opening set. He broke Rohrbach’s serve three times in the first set, including the sixth and final game of it.

 Clary had reached the final match by edging Cedar Crest rival Dylan Tull, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. In his semifinal match, Rohrbach nudged Dave Wolfe, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 4-1 retired.

 “I’ve been playing a lot of tournaments, getting my ranking up,” said Clary, who was the District Three Class AAA runner-up this spring. “I’m happy with the way I’m playing. Everything’s clicking, except my serve.

 “Whether I win it or not, it’s still a fun tournament,” added Clary. “It would’ve been a successful tournament no matter what. Playing Dylan in the semifinals was a tough match. Every time I’ve played this tournament I’ve gone to three sets.”

 “It was one one of our deepest draws in years,” said Rohrbach. “The play was fantastic. It was everything I wanted it to be. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year. I hadn’t won a singles match since 2016. The last two years, I didn’t win a match. I was a little more focused.

  “The tournament will always come first in my mind,” continued Rohrbach. “The tournament director comes first. The last two nights I just put my player hat on.”

 

 

 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Gretna Tennis Club Tournament

Past Singles’ Champions

 2019 – Ben Clary

 2018 – Ben Clary

 2017 – Jackson Muriaka

 2016 – Ryan Mellinger

2015- Mike Lesko

2014 – Dave Wolfe

2013 – Eric Weitzel

2012 – Eric Weitzel

2011 – Mike Rohrbach

2010 – Nick Bybel

2009 – Erik Vargo

2008 – Chris Heilman

2007 – Erik Vargo

2006 – Erik Vargo

2005 – Chris Heilman

2004 – Mike Rohrbach

2003 – Mike Rohrbach

2002 – Mike Rohrbach

2001 – Mike Rohrbach

200o – Mike Rohrbach

1999 – Cancelled, drought

1998 – Dave Wolfe

1997 – Dave Wolfe

1996 – Andy Folmer

1995 – Matt Garman

1994 – Cliff Meyers

1993 – Andy Folmer

1992 – Tom Brink

1991 – Andy Folmer

1990 – Tom Brink

1989 – Mark Moshos

1988 – Mark Moshos

1987 – Mark Moshos

1986 – Mark Moshos

1985 – Steve Hass

1984 – Steve Hass

1983 – Mark Moshos

1982 – Mark Moshos

1981 – Andy Folmer

1980 – Cliff Loercher

1979 – Cliff Loercher

1978 – Cliff Meyers

1977 – Cliff Meyers

1976 – Cliff Meyers

1975 – Cliff Meyers

1974 – Cliff Meyers

1973 – Sam Miller

1972 – Sam Miller

1971 – Sam Miller

1970 – Sam Miller

1969 – Sam Miller

1968 – Sam Miller

 Mount Gretna Tennis Club

 Past Doubles’ Champions

2015 – C. Muraika-G. McNaughton

2014 – A. Behney-T. Deimler

2013 – M. Rohrbach-R. Gallo

2012 – M. Rohrbach-R. Gallo

2011 – M. Rohrbach-R. Gallo

2010 – M. Rohrbach-M. Zimmerman

2009 – M. Rohrbach-E. Vargo

2008 – C. Heilman-M. Bender

2007 – M. Rohrbach-E. Vargo

2006 – E. Vargo-N. Slachta

2005 – M. Rohrbach-P. Rader

2004 – M. Rohrbach-P. Rader

2003 – A. Folmer-J. Montgomery

2002 – M. Rohrbach-T. Bixler

2001 – M. Rohrbach-T. Bixler

2000 – S. Miller-B. Hulme

1999 – Drought, cancelled

1998 – D. Wolfe-M. Garman

1997 – M. Garman-E. Provencio

1996 – M. Garman-E. Provencio

1995 – S. Miller-B. Hulme

1994 – S. Miller-B. Hulme

1993 – C. Meyers-A. Folmer

1992 – T. Brink-E. Weaver

1991 – T. Brink-E. Weaver

1990 – T. Brink-E. Weaver

1989 – C. Meyers-A. Folmer

1988 – T. Brink-E. Weaver

1987 – S. Hass-M. Moshos

1986 – S. Hass-M. Moshos

1985 – S. Hass-M. Moshos

1984 – C. Meyers-A. Folmer

1983 – S. Hass-M. Moshos

1982 – C. Meyers-A. Folmer

1981 – D. Royer-M. Moshos

1980 – R. Early-M. Moshos

1979 – D. Royer-B. Loercher

1978 – C. Meyers-L. Kreider

1977 – D. Royer-B. Loercher

1976 – D. Royer-J. Davis

1975 – S. Miller-L. Kreider

1974 – S. Miller-L. Kreider

1973 – S. Miller-B. Berman

1972 – S. Miller-B. Loercher

1971 – S. Miller-B. Loercher

1970 – S. Miller-B. Loercher

1969 – S. Miller-B. Loercher

1968 – S. Miller-B. Loercher

 

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