The Cheney High boys’ and girls’ tennis teams wrapped up their postseasons at the 2A state tournament, May 27, at the University of Washington.
The doubles team of Ryan Axtell and Mason Van Stone were 1-2 before they were eliminated in the consolation round of the tournament. Brandon Foster and Shogo Starr were 0-2.
“We were hoping for better results, but my guys played some of the best tennis they ever have,” head coach Jesse Erickson said. “It’s a high of level of competition at state. There are no bad teams there.”
Axtell and Van Stone came back to defeat Washington’s Koha Nguyen and Kaleb Whitemarsh, of Tacoma, (3-6, 6-3, 6-1), then lost to Lindbergh’s Donovan Dang and Patrick Tiazmon (6-4, 7-6). They were eliminated in the consolation round after their loss to North Kitsap’s Josh Benson and Nicky Butler (6-2, 6-3).
“The effort was there,” Erickson said. “Their communication was great and they were aggressive. I was pleased with the way they played.”
Foster and Starr had back-to-back losses to Shorecrest’s Daniel Wacker and Faiz Khan (6-0, 6-1), who won the 2A doubles championship, and Black Hills’ Gunnar Nelson and Garrett Nelson (6-4, 6-4).
“Brandon and Shogo felt good about their performance,” Erickson said. “Making it to state was a huge accomplishment for them.”
On the girls’ side, Bridget Calvert went 1-2 in her singles bracket. After she lost her first-round match to Sehome’s Ali Morrow (6-1, 6-2), she defeated Olympic’s Melissa Nemeth (6-4, 6-2). She was eliminated from the tournament after her loss to Sedro-Woolley’s Kadssidee Beuse (6-3, 6-1).
Both Cheney tennis teams are coming off strong regular seasons.
The boys shared the Great Northern League regular season title with Pullman – the second league title for the Blackhawks – after they finished with a 7-1 league record, 13-1 overall with their only loss coming against the Greyounds in their second match on May 5. The girls (6-2, 11-3) finished second in the league and won their first District 7 title, May 21.
The girls lose seven seniors to graduation: Amparo Contreras, Maria Contreras, Amanda Foster, Emily Howard, Shayla Payne and Sadie Knutson. The team should have a strong core group of players returning next year including Calvert, Alannah Lewis, who finished fourth at districts, Danica Gary, Taylor Gould and Caitlyn Strong, who all had wins on varsity in singles and doubles competition.
The boys lose eight seniors, including both doubles teams that went to state, plus Adam Passey, Luke Huguenin, Dirk Ray and Aleksandr Chernega.
“To get four guys to state is a huge accomplishment and it’s never been done as long as I’ve been a coach,” Erickson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. Most of these seniors have played tennis for three or four years. I’m really going to miss having them on the team.”
Erickson noted that sophomores Hayden Bennett and Aaron Fillmore are two players who are expected to return next year. Bennett and Fillmore had a good season as a doubles team – including a third-place finish at the Inland Empire tournament in May – and competed in singles at districts.
“A bunch of sophomores from JV will be juniors next year and they’ll have to step up,” Erickson said. “I think they’ll be ready.”