Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
Where one local top-seeded singles player faltered, another moved in to take his place in boys tennis action Friday at the state championships.
And in girls tennis, Ashland's top doubles team of Hanna Greenberg and Vika O'Brien advanced to today's Class 5A state finals while St. Mary's partners Anna Thorndike and Alden Caldwell moved one step off that pace when they advanced to today's 4A/3A/2A/1A semifinals.
Friday was most definitely a day of highs and lows in the respective state tennis championships, with no bigger surprise coming than when top-seeded South Medford senior Matt Pronesti was upset in the 6A singles bracket in his second match of Day 2 at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton.
Pronesti began his day with a 6-1, 7-6 (8) victory over Lake Oswego's David Furman but couldn't carry that momentum through to the semifinals, where he dropped a 6-3, 6-1 match to fourth-seeded Lincoln sophomore Goutham Sundaram.
Pronesti, who finished as the state runner-up a year ago, will play for third place today against third-seeded Scott Goldner of Lake Oswego.
Phoenix senior Wil Cochrane, another top-seeded local product, experienced more highs than his peer in his first day of action Friday at the 4A/3A/2A/1A state championships at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Cochrane began pursuit of his singles title with convincing wins over La Salle Prep's Stephan Malin (6-1, 6-3) and Stayton's Johan Ulvsback (6-0, 6-0) to earn a semifinal date today against Valley Catholic senior Conor Picken, who upset the No. 4 seed in the first round.
Ashland's Greenberg, a sophomore, and O'Brien, a freshman, set up a shot at their first state title with determined efforts in the quarterfinals and semifinals on Day 2. The Grizzlies secured a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Corvallis' Hannah Rondeau and Elizabeth Patterson to open the day, then scored a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Summit's Hannah Shephard and Morgan DeMeyer in the semifinals.
Thorndike and Caldwell, both seniors at St. Mary's, dominated in the opening rounds in Eugene. The Crusaders posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over Oregon Episcopal's Paige Carlson and Natalie Berger and then won 6-0, 6-1 over Cascade's Yolanda Hernandez and Esther Suelzle in the quarterfinals. Thorndike and Caldwell will face second-seeded Amy Delong and Jessi Fife of Vale in today's semis.
Also in 4A/3A/2A/1A doubles, the boys tennis pairing of Taylor Pena and Eric Morse — the No. 3 seed — suffered a surprising first-round loss to Catlin Gabel's Sammy Lubitz and Evan Hallmark, 6-3, 7-6 (5). The duo responded with a victory in the consolation bracket to move into the semifinal round today in the back half of the bracket.
The only other 4A/3A/2A/1A competitor, Cody Phillips of St. Mary's, lost his first singles match to third-seeded Andrew Salvador of Catlin Gabel but the senior rebounded to win his opener in the consolation bracket. Two wins today would earn Phillips the consolation title.
The second day of play in the 5A championship bracket didn't fare as well as the first for Ashland's Grant Kahn and Ashley Knecht. The singles players each lost in the quarterfinals and were eliminated, with Kahn losing in the boys bracket to Hood River Valley's Ryan Andrews (6-0, 6-1) and Knecht losing in the girls bracket to fourth-seeded Haley Moss of Wilsonville (6-2, 6-4).
In consolation play, River Davis of Ashland went 1-1 in the 5A singles bracket and Domi Tortiger of Grants Pass went 1-1 in the 6A singles bracket and each were eliminated.