In an event steeped in tradition and history, Michael McClune of Irvine Woodbridge has just started his legacy.
The top-seeded sophomore, ranked No. 2 nationally in the U.S. Tennis Assn. boys' 16-and-under division, came from behind to defeat second-seeded senior Blake Muller of Santa Barbara, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2, becoming the first player from his school to win the boys' CIF Interscholastic division championship during the 105th Ojai Valley tennis tournament on Saturday at Libbey Park.
McClune, a lanky right-hander with a variety of shots, had to overcome the Stanford-bound Muller's tremendous serve in a 2 1/2-hour match, finally completing an arduous day in which he also had to go three sets to defeat Jason Jung of West Torrance, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, in the semifinals.
"It think this is a great win," McClune said.
"There's definitely pressure being the No. 1 seed, but I dealt with it. It was tough, so I definitely think I earned it."
Muller, the 13th player from his school to advance to the Interscholastic final since 1926, was disappointed in his second-set finish. Muller was serving for the match at 6-5 but was broken and lost the tiebreaker. McClune broke again at 3-2 in the third to take control for good.
"He was dictating a lot of the match," Muller said. "It's disappointing to lose after you're serving well. You win the first set and you feel like you have the momentum. But then it just changed."
The same thing happened to Oxnard senior Mykala Hedberg, the top-seeded player in the girls' 18 division.
Hedberg, who made her first appearance in an Ojai championship match after semifinal losses the previous three years, had a 5-1 advantage in the first set only to see it vanish as Kirsten Flower claimed the title with a stunning 7-6 (1), 6-1 victory.
Flower, a 16-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, who is attending the Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, was the third-place finisher in the girls' 16-and-under division at the U.S. Tennis Assn. Easter Bowl Spring National Championships two weeks ago.