For CSH's Levine, chance to repeat too strong

Josh Levine of Cold Spring Harbor returns a Josh Levine of Cold Spring Harbor returns a volley from Port Washington's Ben Rosen (not in picture). Levine won the match 6-0, 6-1 en route to Cold Spring Harbor's 4-3 victory. (April 23, 2012) Photo Credit: James Escher

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Josh Levine didn't have to play high school tennis this year.

The Cold Spring Harbor senior already had won a state singles title as a junior, earned four consecutive Long Island championships with the Seahawks since joining the team in eighth grade, and secured a spot on Duke University's tennis team for next fall.

But Levine wanted to defend his titles and spend one last season playing alongside his CSH teammates, and as he had in years past, repeated the same successes in both team play and as an individual.

Just days before leading Cold Spring Harbor to its fifth straight Long Island championship, Levine won his second consecutive state singles title on June 2 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with a straight-sets victory over Friends Academy's Andrew Yaraghi.

Levine became the fifth player since the state started keeping records in 1981 to win back-to-back state championships.

"First time was great, second time feels better," Levine said after winning the state title. "Not many people win two straight state championships and for me to do it, I'm very proud of myself, I worked very hard this whole season and it paid off. I feel great."

Levine was the No. 1 seed at the state championships and faced little adversity through the early rounds, dropping just one set in three matches to reach the semifinals.

He fell behind a set in the semis against No. 4 Taiya Hamanaka of Eastchester, but battled back to take the second and fought off a late surge by Hamanaka to win the match in a supertiebreak, 4-6, 6-1, (10-8).

The state finals against Yaraghi was a rematch of the Nassau singles championship match from a few weeks earlier, which Levine won, 6-4, 6-4. This time around Levine was a bit stronger, as he won the match, 6-3, 6-2, to claim his second state title.

"I achieved all my goals that I set out to do this season," Levine said. "After doing it last year it's hard to stay focused and do it again the following year, but I worked really hard and got it done."

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