In a virtual tie, Wolverines squeak by
Local tennis teams send 28 to state
By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer
The outcome was as close as a third-set
tiebreaker when Wood River and The Community School clashed for supremacy last
weekend during the 2004 Fourth District 3A prep tennis tournament at Sun Valley
Call it a virtual tie—each team winning 29
matches and losing 16, each team scoring big (Wood River 81 points doubles,
Community School 60 singles) in their specialties and each team pulling off some
Giving Wood River key points was the district runner-up girls’ doubles team
of Jackie Safran (left) and Devon Bunce. Check Local Life in the next two
weeks for more great photos from the district meet. Express photo by David N.
So, it came down to head-to-head
match-ups, and Wood River was a little better in the trenches Saturday on the
final day of the two-day, state-qualifying tournament.
The Wolverines won five of the six
head-to-head doubles matches and came away with the slimmest of team victories.
Wood River, winning its 13th district
tennis championship but its first since 1996, snapped The Community School’s
six-year stranglehold on the district team trophy by a margin of 109-106. Declo
Hornet’s (45) were a distant third.
Coach John Radford of Wood River said, "We
did well in head-to-head match-ups today."
The most obvious ones that turned the tide
in Wood River’s favor came in boys’ doubles and mixed doubles.
In boys’ doubles, the #3-seeded WRHS team
of Dao Okamoto and Thomas Phelan survived a 7-6 (8-6) first-set tiebreaker and
beat #4-seeded Christian Cairncross and Wes Flanigan by scores of 7-6, 6-1 in
Saturday’s title match.
Community School freshman Mandy Alexander is headed to state with Luke
Fostvedt in mixed doubles. Express photo by David N. Seelig
Saturday’s mixed doubles championship saw
#2-seeded Danny Gariepy and Whitney DeBree of Wood River rally for a 4-6, 6-4,
7-5 triumph over top-seeded Luke Fostvedt and Mandy Alexander of The Community
"Danny and Whitney got their legs under
them after falling behind in the first set, and both teams really battled it out
all the way," Radford said.
Less obvious, but vitally important to
Wood River’s championship drive, was Ashley Prior’s thrilling 3-6, 6-4, 7-6
(7-5) victory over junior Caitlin Cairncross of the Cutthroats that secured the
third- and fourth-place spots for Hailey.
Also critical were the boys’ doubles
split-set win of Wood River’s Frank Fiaschetti and Hunter Storey over Tyler
Chandler and Ben Roth of the Cutthroats, and, earlier in the tourney, the girls’
success of Hailey’s Jackie Safran and Devon Bunce over McKenzie Hart and Joanie
Dao Okamoto started the season in singles, but his boys’ doubles pairing
with Thomas Phelan led to a district title for Wood River Saturday. Express
photo by David N. Seelig
Coach Mark Scribner’s Cutthroats were
accustomed to close team wins in their amazing six-year district reign—winning
108-105 over Wood River in 2001 and 119-115 over the Wolverines in 2000, plus
the slim 121-117 Cutthroat win over Jerome in 1998.
This one slipped away, but Scribner
saluted all 85 of the players by saying, "It was a great tournament."
The upshot is both Blaine County
teams—having tied for second place with 59 points apiece behind Homedale (62) in
last year’s state tournament—had plenty to brag about entering the State 3A
tourney Friday and Saturday, May 21-22 in Boise.
outlasted teammate Tyler Martin in a three-hour boys’ singles title match
marathon at Sun Valley. Express photo by David N. Seelig
Wood River will send 12 players to state
including its 1-2 girls’ doubles teams of Ellie France and Abby Fairman, and
Safran and Bunce. France and Fairman were the only top-seeded doubles team to
prevail last weekend, in split sets over Safran and Bunce.
While Wood River swept the doubles titles
Saturday, the Cutthroats as expected swept singles led by senior Amy Alexander.
She successfully defended her singles title and lost only five games in three
In boys’ singles, the steady volleying of
sophomore Scooter Sabel finally wore down top-seeded junior Tyler Martin and
#2-seeded Sabel prevailed 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in a Cutthroat-to-Cutthroat championship
match that lasted three hours and six minutes.
As somebody said, you could have grown old
watching the Sabel and Martin play baseline tennis but both were superb
practitioners of the tactic.
Ellie France, Wood River senior, teamed with Abby Fairman for the
district girls’ doubles title Saturday. Express photo by David N. Seelig
The Community School, having won four of
the fifth-place matches Saturday, ended up qualifying a school-record 16 of its
18 district entries for the upcoming state tournament. Ironically, that’s the
same number the Cutthroats qualified for state in 1997 when they lost to Jerome
109-96 for the district championship.
Because of their vast numbers and its
power in singles, the Cutthroats could realistically exceed 50 points when
singles are counted up at state, and they could nail down a third State 3A title
in four years if the Sun Valley doubles teams come through in Boise.
Wood River, making its 29th trip to the
state tennis tournament and its last before moving up to 4A next year, will be
seeking its first state championship in 16 years dating back to 1988.
Check this week’s Express Web site for a
complete summary of last weekend’s district tennis tournament at Sun Valley.
Here are the district’s qualifiers, the top five making state.
First place—Scooter Sabel (CS soph) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 over Tyler Martin (CS
junior). Third place—Travis Moss (D) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 over Aaron Fleming
(S-S). Fifth place—Satoshi Komura (G) 6-1, 6-3 over Kyle Niedrich (WR
Girls’ singles: First place—Amy
Alexander (CS senior) 6-1, 6-0 over Katie Wall (D). Third place—Hadley
DeBree (WR sophomore) 6-2, 6-2 over Ashley Prior (WR sophomore). Fifth place—Caitlin
Cairncross (CS junior) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 over Jeah Bel Flores (G).
Boys’ doubles: First place—Dao
Okamoto-Thomas Phelan (WR senior, freshman) 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 over Christian
Cairncross-Wes Flanigan (CS freshman, sophomore). Third place—Frank
Fiaschetti-Hunter Storey (WR seniors) 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 7-5 over Morgan
Frederickson-Ryan Willis (G). Fifth place—Tyler Chandler-Ben Roth (CS
sophomore, junior) 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 over Justin Pickup-Steve Blakeslee (D).
Girls’ doubles: First place—Ellie
France-Abby Fairman (WR senior, sophomore) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 over Jackie Safran-Devon
Bunce (WR sophomores). Third place—McKenzie Hart-Joanie Baumgardner (CS
sophomore, senior) 6-2, 6-4 over Anneke Sanders-Nicole Kasimatis (G). Fifth
place—Lily Mott-Ginna Anderson (CS sophomores) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 over Alyssa
Elexpuru-Sarah Shull (G).
First place—Danny Gariepy-Whitney DeBree (WR senior, freshman) 4-6, 6-4,
7-5 over Luke Fostvedt-Mandy Alexander (CS senior, freshman). Third place—Eric
Olsen-Ashley Peterson (D) 6-2, 6-2 over Megan Koyle-Braden Turner (D). Fifth
place—J.P. McNeal-Blake Ellis (CS juniors) 6-2, 6-4 over Gavin Kastner-Kira
Gardner (WR junior, freshman).