Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
Ashland enjoyed a solid opening-day showing at the Class 5A tennis tournament on Thursday, advancing its top singles and doubles players in the boys and girls divisions into today's championship quarterfinal round.
First-day matches for the 6A and 5A tournaments were held at the Portland Tennis Center as well as the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton. Action resumes at those sites today and Saturday.
Ashland singles players Grant Kahn and Anne Kim and boys doubles tandem of Max Burt and Michael Montes each faced seeded opponents in today's quarterfinals, while the Grizzlies' Hanna Greenberg and Vika O'Brien are the No. 1 seeds in the 5A girls doubles bracket and Ashley Knecht pulled off the upset of Day 1 in singles play against No. 2 seed Lindsey Brodeck of Summit.
Kahn, a sophomore, scored a 6-2, 6-4 win in his opener over Liberty senior Michael Jensen and will face third-seeded Nathan Hampton of Churchill in today's quarterfinals. Also in 5A boys singles, fellow Grizzly Mischa Kirby earned a victory in the pigtail round but couldn't maintain that momentum and lost to Silverton senior Alex Carlier, 6-3, 6-2, in his second match of the day. Kirby remains in the consolation bracket and will face Franklin senior Franklin Truong today.
The 5A girls singles bracket boasts two Ashland players among the top eight heading into today after good opening runs by sophomores Kim and Knecht, who each had pigtail openers and won two matches on Thursday.
Knecht opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Roosevelt's Zoe MacWilliamson before authoring the day's biggest surprise with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over the junior Brodeck. Knecht will meet Pendleton junior Jessica Clark in today's quarterfinals.
Kim scored a 6-3, 6-4 win over Sherwood's Allison Schwarm in the pigtail round before beating Lebanon senior Bailey Brooks 6-3, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal date with top-seeded Chelsea Clark of West Albany.
In 5A boys doubles, juniors Burt and Montes beat Sherwood seniors Colton Baker and Alec Wistoff 6-3, 6-2 and will face top-seeded Marist sophomores Austin Tyner and AJ Bartko in today's quarterfinals.
Greenberg and O'Brien cruised through their opening match for a 6-0, 6-2 win over Sherwood's Lydia Ng and Bryce Keicher and will look to continue their run today against Summit's Kacie Evans and Lauren Handley. Also at 5A girls doubles, Ashland's Karly Barnhard and Elana Cooper were eliminated with a 6-2, 6-1 loss in the pigtail round to West Albany's Lindsay Pautsch and Ellie Cale.
In Class 6A boys singles, South Medford sophomore Mitchell Steadman opened with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Centennial's Justin Thammabanvong before falling 6-0, 6-0 to top-seeded Goutham Sundaram of Lincoln. Panthers freshman Kylar Tosh suffered a similar fate, winning 7-5, 6-3 in his opener against Corbin Coursey of Sprague before dropping a 6-1, 6-3 match to third-seeded Collyn Erion of South Salem.
South Medford freshman Kelsey Bartlett dropped her first match to Katie Day of Lake Oswego, 6-2, 6-3, and moved to the consolation bracket, where today she will face McMinnville's Caitlan Baker.
South Medford's top doubles team of senior Riley Finnegan and freshman Abi Borg dropped their only 6A girls doubles match of the tournament and were eliminated. The Panther duo received a first-round bye, making them ineligible to drop into the consolation bracket, then came up short in a second-round match with Sierra Lemon and Sophie Peel of St. Mary's Academy, 6-1, 6-2.
Grants Pass freshmen Abi Johnson and McKenna Stephenson won their first match in 6A girls doubles but were ousted by a 6-0, 6-2 loss to second-seeded Darby Rosette and Sarah Murphy of Jesuit. Grants Pass seniors Robby Hobbs and Zach Williams won their first match in 6A boys doubles but lost 6-1, 6-1 to second-seeded Sam Stadter and CJ Ball of Roseburg.
Cascade Christian boys doubles team Troy Thompson and Chad Morse were the lone local competitors in the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tournament at the Oregon Student Tennis Center in Eugene but lost their pigtail opener.
Thompson, a senior, and Morse, a freshman, were eliminated by Cascade seniors Truman Clark and Jordan Farr, 6-4, 6-2.