Making a Racket: Finer points of the state tournament
First things first, a shout out to the Skyview girls program for winning a 10th consecutive 4A district team title last weekend at Vancouver Tennis Center.
As coach Jay Gowan said in an email to me, “10 years in a row is tough to come by. Heck 1 year is tough to come by!”
To which my reply (thinking of all the other teams in the league) was: “1 district title is tough to come by when YOU are winning EVERY year!” … comment made all in good fun of course.
I’ve dug up so much intel on the WIAA state championships, I figured I might as well make use of it. So, for those interested, here we go …
CLASS 4A GIRLS SINGLES (to be played at Columbia Basin Racquet Club and Richland HS)
No secret Skyview senior Sammi Hampton will be playing for a fourth 4A state singles title. It’s a rare feat to win four on the girls side (full disclosure, I didn’t research the boys).
Only Sonja Olejar of Bellarmine Prep has four 4A state girls singles titles and she did it from 1989-92. Yeah, before anyone in this year’s tournament was born.
There are three 1A-2B-1B four-time WIAA state champs: Michelle Lui of Forest Ridge, who finished her four-peat last season; Liz Lewis of The Bush School (2004-07) and Erica Perkins of University Prep (1994-97).
Hampton is the first three-time 4A champ since Olejar. According to the WIAA archives, at the Class 3A level, there have been two four-time finalists, but no four-time winners.
Olejar went undefeated in her prep career, losing just one set. Hampton is undefeated in her high school career and has dropped just two sets. Those came in the championship match of her freshman and sophomore seasons.
And irony of ironies, Hampton was the much-talked about freshman in 2012 when she defeated a senior for her first state title. Now as a senior, she may be playing an up-and-coming freshman for the title. Vivian Glozman of Newport (Bellevue) is ranked No. 1 in the USTA Pacific Northwest Section in girls 16s age group. Hampton is No. 1 in the 18s.
As for the bracket, seven of eight placers from 2014 are not in the field. Just five players from last year’s bracket are returning (click here for the draw).
Hampton is in the top half of the draw. Glozman is in the bottom half. Mountain View junior Amila Gogalija is also in the bottom half, but not in the same quarter as Glozman.
CLASS 4A GIRLS DOUBLES (to be played at Columbia Basin Racquet Club and Richland HS)
Camas doubles team Jenn Lewis, a senior, and Hannah Gianan, a sophomore, are back to defend their state title. They are in the upper part of the draw (click here for bracket), and could face last year’s eighth-place finishers in Julia Lioubarski and Jasmine Ye of Skyline in the quarterfinals.
Union junior Sydney Wallace was runner-up to Lewis and Gianan in last year’s state doubles final. This year she has freshman McKenzie Schreiner as a partner. They are in the bottom half of the draw.
CLASS 4A BOYS SINGLES (to be played at Columbia Basin Racquet Club and Richland HS)
There are seven returning players to the 16-player draw from last year’s tournament, and there will be a new state champion.
Mountain View junior Colton Reed is a returning state player, but from 3A doubles last year. The 4A GSHL champion faces returning player Ryan Adams of Olympia in the first round (click here for draw). Adams placed third in the Narrows League district tournament back in October. A potential quarterfinal for Reed might be Narrows district runner-up and state returner Callan Peterson of Stadium.
Skyview freshman Andrew Kabacy is in a loaded lower half of the draw that features four state returners and three placers including last year’s 4A runner-up Jackson Suh, a sophomore from Issaquah. Suh won the 4A KingCo title in November. Kabacy drew Richland senior Trent Prussing in the first round. Prussing is the No. 2 seed from the Mid-Columbia Conference.
CLASS 4A BOYS DOUBLES (to be played at Columbia Basin Racquet Club and Richland HS)
This could be the key for Mountain View to make a run for a state team title. The Thunder have two doubles entries and are one of five 4A teams with three state entries. Mountain View is one of three teams with a singles-doubles-doubles combination along with Stadium and Lewis & Clark, which could be considered the team favorite.
Mountain View’s district champs, Tyler Sparling (senior) and Nick Shiraishi (junior), both have state experience. Sparling last played at state in 2012, and Shiraishi played doubles with Reed last year. The tough part for team Sparling/Shiraishi is they are in the same half as part of last year’s state doubles champion (click here for draw). Lewis & Clark senior Jordan Strandness was champion last year, and brings a new partner along this year in Kyle Fager.
Mountain View’s Justin Yee (junior) and Mark Bajtay (senior) drew Lewis & Clark’s Jacob Johnson and Kenny Woodhead in the first round. Johnson and Woodhead are the No. 2 seed from the 4A Mid-Columbia Conference.
Team points are awarded on a 10-to-3 scale for placing 1-8 plus 2 points for each victory.
CLASS 3A GIRLS SINGLES (to be played at Kamiakin HS and Tri City Court Club, Kennewick)
Prairie senior Akari Baba has to be in the discussion for a state title. But so does defending champion Catherine Allen of Holy Names Academy. They are in opposite halves of the draw.
Baba is 16-0 this season against 3A opponents. She swept through district and bi-district without dropping a set. And yet there’s a big obstacle from the get-go in Lakeside’s Viv Daniel (click here for draw). These two met in last year’s semifinal with Daniel winning 6-4 in the third set.
Baba did go on to place third at state, but is motivated this season to reach the top. And for the record, Baba played Allen in the 2013 state quarterfinals with Allen winning 6-4 in a third set.
There are seven returning players to the draw from 2014, four in Baba’s half of the draw including Columbia River sophomore Lauren Skelly, who drew Monica Kwong of Lynnwood in the first round.
CLASS 3A BOYS DOUBLES (to be played at Kamiakin HS and Tri City Court Club, Kennewick)
It couldn’t get any tougher for Columbia River’s Nathan Crary and Owen Carlson. They drew half of last year’s finalists in the first round (click here for draw).
Ben Elliott of Mercer Island was half of last year’s doubles state champion. His partner this year is Charles Williams who was half of the runner-up duo.
CLASS 2A BOYS DOUBLES (to be played at Nordstrom Tennis Center, Univ. of Washington)
Dat Vo and Thanh Vo of Hudson’s Bay were a key part to the Eagles’ rise to the top of the 2A GSHL in the fall. The cousins now face the No. 3 team out of the Olympic League in Nate McCown and Joe Creason of North Kitsap in the first round of state at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on the University of Washington campus (click here for draw).
CLASS 2A GIRLS DOUBLES (to be played at Nordstrom Tennis Center, Univ. of Washington)
Like the Hudson’s Bay boys, the Ridgefield girls rose to the top of the 2A GSHL with a perfect league season. Sarah Kaufman and Sophie Bird were the No. 1 doubles team for the Spudders and worked their way to state where they will first face Miranda Dang and Jessica Tiamzon of Lindbergh (click here for draw).
CLASS 1A/2B/1B GIRLS SINGLES (to be played at Yakima Tennis Center)
King’s Way Christian’s Jasmine Nesbitt is headed to state in Yakima on the heels of winning the 1A district title. Nesbitt, who last played at state in doubles in 2013, will open against Katie DeWulf of Odessa-Harrington in the first round (click here for draw).
And for the first time in four years, this classification is wide open. Michelle Lui of Forest Ridge took her four state titles to Seattle University.
(Apologies, but I didn’t have everyone’s photo from this season. And some have been posted previously on this blog during the season.)