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Grizzlies fare well in state openers

The opening day of the Class 5A boys tennis state tournament went off without a hitch Thursday for the Ashland High contingent on hand at the Portland Tennis Center.

The same couldn’t be said at the 6A level, however, where North Medford senior Krissy Ribeiro was an unfortunate victim in the opening round of the girls state tournament at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton.

Hoping to become Ashland’s first boys singles state champion, junior Rox Rogers took a necessary first step in his opening round with a dominant performance against La Salle Prep sophomore Nicolas Hey.

Rogers, who teamed with Kai Weston last season to claim Ashland’s first boys doubles state title since 1978, improved to 17-0 this season with a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Hey. The second-seeded Rogers will face Churchill freshman Alle Banna in Friday’s quarterfinals after Banna scored a 6-0, 6-0 win over Ryan Abbott of Summit. The semifinals also are on Friday, with the championship final set for Saturday.

Ashland’s fourth-seeded tandem of Owen DiRienzo (senior) and Nur Shelton (junior) made similar quick work of their first-round opponent, with the Grizzlies scoring a 6-0, 6-1 win over Woodburn’s Levi Samano and Trever Karrsseboom.

DiRienzo and Shelton will take on Summit’s Joshua Marine and Ricky Marine in Friday’s quarterfinals after their 6-1, 6-0 win in the first round. A win there would likely pit the Ashland duo against No. 1 seeds Garen Gasparovic and Peter Rutherford of Summit in the semifinals.

For Ribeiro, the opening round proved to be a challenge as Lake Oswego freshman Bo-Bae Yu started fast and then held off the Black Tornado singles player’s charge for a 6-0, 6-4 victory. Yu went on to lose 6-3, 6-2 in the second round to No. 2 seed Lizzy Stevens of Tigard.

Ribeiro had gone unbeaten this season until coming up short in the Southwest Conference district semifinals, but rebounded to win in the third-place finals. Her loss Thursday dropped Ribeiro into the consolation quarterfinals, where she will face sophomore Elizabeth Williams of Grants Pass on Friday morning. Williams lost 6-0, 6-0 to West Albany sophomore Ceanne Elliott in the first round.

The Class 4A/3A/2A/1A boys and girls state tournaments run Friday-Saturday.