Jeff Rutherford rallied from a big early deficit to claim a second straight 11th Region singles tennis title Thursday at the University of Kentucky.

The Model senior trailed 5-1 in the first set, but fought back to get into a tiebreaker, then went on to defeat Lexington Catholic’s Will Mustian, 7-6 (7-1) 6-0, in a rematch of last year’s final.

Ruther-ford defeated Mustian, 6-4, 6-3, in the 2005 championship match.

“Jeff got down early in the first set, but stayed patient and fought his way back into it,” Model coach Jack Rutherford said. “At 5-2 down in the first set things looked pretty grim, but Jeff was determined to win and he showed the grit needed to get the job done. Once he won the first set in the tiebreaker, it was all downhill from there. I don’t think he was particularly pleased with the way he played, but the results speak for themselves.”

Rutherford’s title helped the Patriots finish tied for second with Lexington Catholic. Henry Clay took the 11th Region title with 11 points. Model and Catholic each had nine points.

Rutherford advances to the KHSAA State Tennis Tournament, which is scheduled for May 25 through 27 at the University of Kentucky. The Model senior advanced to the third round of last year’s state tournament.

Rutherford drew an opening-round bye, then picked up 6-0, 6-1 second-round victory over Patrick Thompson of Tates Creek Monday. He moved in to the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Madison Central’s Nathan Blum Tuesday, then defeated third-seeded Elliott Farmer of Henry Clay Wednesday to earn a spot in the finals.

Rutherford has won three straight district titles, the last two in the 11th Region.

Model’s other singles entry, junior Chris Upchurch, fell 6-0, 6-2 to Ryne Least of Woodford County in the first round.

In doubles action, Model’s Brett Miller and Andrew Brubaker, the No. 4 seed, drew a first-round bye, then picked up a 6-0, 6-0 second-round win Monday. The duo moved into the semifinals with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 victory Tuesday over Andrew Herring and Will Palmer of Henry Clay.

Miller and Brubaker went on to drop a 6-2, 6-1 decision to top-seeded Bush Gess and Kyle Rosenstein of Sayre Wednesday in the semifinals.

Model’s other doubles team, Kevin Haun and Woody Rini, won a hard fought 7-5, 6-3 first-round match over Andrew Wethall and James Waller of Bryan Station Monday, then lost 6-1, 6-2 later in the day to Sonny Mok and Ben Gess of Sayre.

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