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North fares well at tennis tournament

BOISE, Idaho - The way the North Medford boys and girls tennis teams treated their hosts at the Capital Invitational tennis tournament on Saturday, its a wonder why the Black Tornado were invited back.

North took five competitors into the finals and came away with two individual titles en route to a team win at the 25-team tournament.

The invitation only tournament featured some of the best teams from Idaho and Utah with North Medford the lone Oregon representative.

The Black Tornado, despite not having some of their top girls competitors and not fielding a No. 2 girls doubles squad, grabbed the overall team title with 282 points.

Idaho Falls took second with 277, host and defending tournament champion Capital third at 268 and Twin Falls (227) fourth and Centennial (219) fifth.

"It was comparable to the (Oregon) state tournament," said North Medford girls coach Dale Jensen of the 30-plus-year-old tournament. "I think we turned a lot of eyes at the tournament. We were already invited back for next year."

Tyler Wilson advanced to the No. 2 singles boys finals and easily dispatched Borah's Zach Stottland, 6-1, 6-0.

Also taking home a title for North was Jeremy Leever and Annie Chaney with a mixed doubles victory over defending state Idaho champs Emily Ochoa and Jason Clements of Centennial, 6-1, 6-3.

"We don't have mixed doubles, so these kids don't even practice together," said Jensen of Leever and Chaney. "Then they beat the defending state champs. People were asking 'who are these guys'".

North's Andre Nilsson fell in the quarterfinal round, 6-1, 6-1 to Ryan Stottland, 6-1, 6-1, while teammate Clint Russell also went down in quarterfinal play, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 to Ogden's Jonathan Alcaraz.

"It's definitely the best they've played this season," said Tornado boys coach Chad Empee of his squad. "Every week they get stronger."

Empey, who coached in Boise before coming to North, was pleased with just getting invited to such a prestigious tournament.

"It's incredible," said Empee. "When you are dealing with 25 teams and you come out on top, it's amazing.

"It's amazing to even get invited into the tournament."

The Black Tornado's Christine Spencer advanced to the finals but came up short against Capital's Erica Meissner, 6-1, 6-3.

Teammate Kendra Ira fell in the first round to Ogden's Paige Naisbitt, 6-2, 6-3, while Tabitha Grytness reached the consolation finals before losing to Parma's Jessica Jemmett, 6-3, 6-4.

North's tandem of David Mostue and Andrew Theen fell to Idaho Falls' Jordan Perry and Erin Carter in the boys doubles finals. Teammates Dru Phillips and Mateo Menges dropped a first-round match to Max Banko and Kyle Aman of Kamiakin, while the girls No. — duo of April Louie and Shannon Leever fell in the finals to Erin Martin and Lena Klie, also of Kamiakin, 6-1, 6-3.

In No. 2 mixed doubles, Kelly Brown and Melissa Witten fell to Boise's Clint Frochlick and Carrie Waito, 7-6, 6-4, in a second-round match.

"This was not so much big for our team, but also big for players in our region," said Empee. "It shows we can play a little."

North Medford concludes Southern Oregon Conference play with a girls match today at Roseburg.

The district tournaments for both boys and girls begin Thursday in Roseburg.