Kennebunk freshman George Cutone defeated Caleb Fockens of Foxcroft Academy 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 to win the boys’ title Monday at Lewiston High. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

LEWISTON — As if to make up for a season lost to the pandemic, the semifinalists in the state singles tennis tournament put on a show Monday at Lewiston High.

And the biggest stars turned out to be a pair of freshmen.

Sofia Mavor of Yarmouth and George Cutone of Kennebunk capped off impressive runs through the Maine Principals’ Association’s three-day tourney by rallying to victory against opponents who made them earn their titles. It was the first time there were two freshmen singles championships since 1987, when Eric Blakeman of North Yarmouth Academy and Lauren Rioux of Kennebunk won.

The top-seeded Mavor overcame a bumpy start before beating No. 3 Morgan Warner of Waynflete 6-4, 6-0 after Warner had gutted out a nearly 3-hour semifinal against No. 2 Blair Hollyday of Cape Elizabeth. Warner’s 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 victory took so long to complete, it pushed back the start of the Mavor-Warner finale.

“I was pretty sure I was fresher than she was,” Mavor said. “Knowing that, I might have loosened up a little too much, thinking she would be tired.”

Instead, Warner jumped to a quick 4-2 lead before Mavor, who had beaten her fellow left-hander in straight sets during a regular-season match a week earlier, assumed control amid a blustery, swirling wind.

“Sofia played great in the wind,” Warner said. “She’s an athlete. She’s consistent but also hits a hard ball at the same time.”

Mavor became the third member of her family to win a state singles crown, joining sister Lana (2017) of Yarmouth and father Brian (1982) of Cape Elizabeth. Sofia faced another lefty, fourth-seeded Lincoln Academy senior Caitlin Cass, in a 6-0, 6-3 semifinal victory earlier Monday.

Neither Mavor nor Cutone, seeded second in the boys’ draw, had lost a single game in any of their three early-round matches Friday and Saturday. Cutone shut out another opponent, third-seeded Waynflete senior Ben Adey 6-0, 6-0 Monday morning and No. 4 Caleb Fockens of Foxcroft Academy was toppling top-seeded Leif Boddie, a hard-serving 6-foot-5 junior from Greely, 6-3, 6-0.

Fockens had moved to Cambridge, Maine, from Greenwich, Connecticut, in 2019, just after his sophomore year in high school. He had advanced to the Round of 16 as a freshman and quarterfinals as a sophomore in Connecticut’s largest high school division and had not been challenged this spring in northern and eastern Maine.

Facing Cutone, a 5-foot-3, 115-pound dynamo with the footwork of a dancer, was certainly a challenge.

“He’s unbelievably athletic,” Fockens said. “It’s been a while since I’ve played someone as athletic and aggressive on the court as him. It was fun.”

Cutone prevailed 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 as much for his shot-making abilities as for his fitness level. Fockens took a medical timeout early in the second set because of cramping in his hand and Cutone surged to a 5-1 lead. Fockens roared back to win five consecutive games before Cutone held serve to force a tiebreaker. Cutone fell behind 4-3 but won four of the next five points to win the set and extend a match that lasted just over two hours.

“I wasn’t super nervous,” Cutone said of the breaker. “It could have just been adrenaline.”

Sofia Mavor of Yarmouth, left, and Morgan Warner of Waynflete congratulate each other after competing in the finals of the high school state singles championships on Monday in Lewiston. Mavor won the match 6-4, 6-0. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Cutone broke serve to open the third set and went on to win the final four games in succession.

“Mentally he’s the strongest player I’ve ever coached,” said Kennebunk Coach Paul Gaylord. “You can’t tell when he’s winning or losing. You don’t see bad body language. You don’t see slumping shoulders, things like that.”

A fellow coach watching the match told Gaylord that in one set he had seen Cutone hit every shot in tennis. Never before had he seen that.

“That means forehand slice, backhand slice, topspin off both sides,” Gaylord said. “That means overheads, volleys, drop shots, drop volleys, lobs, topspin lobs. It’s crazy.”

After an awards ceremony, Fockens left Cutone with these parting words:

“You are the most athletic kid I have ever met, I swear.”


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