Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
Phoenix senior tennis player Wil Cochrane made good on his second chance, and he made history in the process.
Last year's Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state runner-up defeated Catlin Gabel senior Andrew Salvador 6-2, 6-3 in the championship match at the University of Oregon in Eugene on Saturday.
With the victory, the top-seeded Cochrane became the first in school history to capture a state tennis title. Last year, Cochrane and his coach, father Andy Cochrane, formed a one-person team at Phoenix. This season, Logan Thirkill joined the squad.
Cochrane, who has signed to play at Portland State University, said the title win was truly a dream come true.
"I can promise you that at least once a week I would go to bed thinking about the moment I had today, and for a full year to go by and have it finally come true, it feels amazing," said Cochrane, who lost just nine games in the four state matches he played in.
Cochrane, who played at South Medford High his sophomore year, wasn't the only local to take home championship hardware. Ashland's doubles pairing of sophomore Hanna Greenberg and freshman Vika O'Brien capped a strong tournament run by winning the 5A doubles championship. Seeded fourth, the two upset Hermiston's Sarah Hawman and Emily Stocker, who were seeded first, 6-3, 6-1 at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.
Cochrane topped Salvador, a former state champion who was seeded third, 6-2, 6-2 in the state semifinals last year.
Earlier in the day, Cochrane cruised past Valley Catholic's Conor Picken 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals. Salvador, the 2009 4A/3A/2A/1A state singles champion, downed second-seeded Matt Sipowicz of Oregon Episcopal 6-3, 6-4 to set the rematch with Cochrane.
In the first set, Cochrane broke Salvador right off the bat and then held serve before Salvador picked up the third game. Cochrane took a 4-1 lead, lost the sixth game and then won the next two.
"Getting up early definitely made a difference in my confidence," Cochrane said.
Cochrane said his efficiency in the semifinals helped him tremendously in the second set of the final.
"It definitely made a difference to take care of business and be prepared physically to go into the final feeling good and fresh," he said. "In the second set he looked tired and I was dictating. He was having to run a lot more than me."
Cochrane's individual success earned the Pirates a third-place team finish. Oregon Episcopal was first and Catlin Gabel second.
Cochrane, who finished the season 8-0, said he hopes his success may inspire others at Phoenix to embrace tennis.
"As a freshman coming into high school, no one really liked tennis," Cochrane said. "People would say, 'Why do you play tennis?' Over the years I think they've warmed up to it more."
Greenberg and O'Brien claimed Ashland's first individual state title since Tami Botts won the girls singles championship in 1998. The Grizzlies finished second as a team with 10.5 points to champion Summit, which had 12.5 points.
Last year, Greenberg and River Davis lost in the state semifinals.
Greenberg and O'Brien defeated Hawman and Stocker 6-4, 7-5 at a tournament in Bend earlier this spring.
"When they got to the finals, both teams were a little bit tight, but Hanna and Vika went in knowing that they beat them earlier in the season, and if they played their A game they would be OK," Ashland head coach Gail Patton said.
Patton praised the Grizzlies' aggressive net play on Saturday.
"They didn't do it all the time, but I told (Vika), 'If you get in a rally of more than two to three hits at the baseline you've got to work your way to the net.' They kept the pressure on."
In other state matches, St. Mary's doubles partners Anna Thorndike and Alden Caldwell, seeded fourth, upset Vale's second-seeded Amy Delong and Jessi Fife 6-3, 6-4 in the 4A/3A/2A/1A semifinals. The Crusader seniors fell to Crook County's Catherine Brown and Kayla Morgan, seeded first, 6-3, 6-2 in the championship.
The St. Mary's girls took third as a team, with Oregon Episcopal and Crook County capturing first and second, respectively.
At the 6A level at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, South Medford senior Matt Pronesti beat Lake Oswego senior Scott Goldner, who was seeded third, 6-3, 6-0 to secure third place. Pronesti, who received the top seed after going 16-0 during the regular season, was last year's 6A runner-up.
Lincoln sophomore Goutham Sundaram, seeded fourth, beat Grant's Brent Chin in the 6A finals 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. On the girls side, top-seeded Jesuit sophomore Erin Larner downed Lincoln junior Arianna Fardanesh 6-0, 6-2.
A local singles and doubles team took home consolation crowns.
St. Mary's senior Cody Philips won the 4A/3A/2A/1A consolation championship after topping La Salle Prep sophomore Stephan Malin 6-4, 6-2.
Philips beat Vale's Jordan Dobney 8-2 in the consolation semifinals.
Cascade Christian's third-seeded pairing of seniors Taylor Pena and Eric Morse pulled out a 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory over Oregon Episcopal's Vinay Iyengar and Vijay Edupuganti in the 4A/3A/2A/1A consolation finals.
A round earlier, the two blanked Henley's Jacob Mangan and Alex Mangan, 8-0.