In a true team effort, the Wood River High School tennis squad captured first place overall against strong 4A and 5A competition during the Eastern Idaho Invitational tournament April 13-14 at Bonneville in Idaho Falls.
"Every match counted," said Wood River coach Vicki Johnston, proud of the rare Hailey team win at the big meet. "We played great at the net and got our first serves in."
Seniors Raleigh Grossbaum and Charlie Grabow, the 2010 State 4A boys' doubles champions, won the boys' doubles competition with clean straight-set victories. Senior Karl Wilander, a podium placer in singles at state for three straight years, was second in boys' singles at Idaho Falls.
Their efforts and those of third-place boys' doubles Josh Morell and Cole Caminiti and fourth-place mixed doubles Stephen Pfeiffer and Hannah Baybutt helped the Wolverines win the boys' team championship by a wide margin over Hillcrest of Idaho Falls.
Wood River's boys (42 points) won their title over Hillcrest 29.5, Century of Pocatello 25.5, Madison of Rexburg 25, Bonneville 16, Idaho Falls 15, Skyline of Idaho Falls 14 and Minico of Rupert.
In the girls' team contest, reigning State 5A girls' champion Idaho Falls was dominant with 51 points, but Wood River's girls battled into second place with 25 points ahead of Century 20.5, Bonneville 20, Madison 19, Hillcrest 13.5, Minico 10 and Skyline 5.
Adding the final boys' and girls' team totals settled the final overall result—and it favored Wood River by the slimmest of margins.
Final team standings were Wood River 67 points, Idaho Falls 66, Century 46, Madison 44, Hillcrest 43, Bonneville 36, Skyline 19 and Minico 11.
A big highlight of the play was Wilander's fabulous three-set final with two-time defending State 4A boys' singles king Josh Goodwin of Century. Goodwin, who defeated Wilander 6-4, 6-2 in last year's state final, needed a 7-4 tiebreaker in the third set to accomplish his victory Saturday.
Johnston said, "Karl played smart and confident tennis. It's pretty big for him to realize he can beat Goodwin. Really, it was so windy during their third set, but both Karl and Josh kept their composure and worked the wind. I don't know how either one of them did it."
Other highlights, according to the Wolverine coaching staff:
Consistently strong tennis by Josh Morell and Cole Caminiti; the fourth-place girls' doubles finish of seniors Erin Murphy and Sloan Storey; and excellent girls' singles efforts by Haley Cutler and Lily Richards on their way to third- and fourth-place finishes.
Also providing important points were Chase Hutchinson, Michael Niedrich, Alex Feldman, Audrey Brassil and Tate Morell, and Margaret Reutter and Andrew Graves.
Saturday was a long day but a good day for Wood River, beginning with college testing on Saturday morning which necessitated afternoon starting times for many matches in Idaho Falls—and forced most of the finals to 6 p.m. starts. Then, mechanical problems with the bus coming home caused the Wolverines to arrive in Hailey about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
Meanwhile, Wood River junior varsity tennis traveled to Twin Falls on Saturday for a JV tournament. For many, it was their first competition.
Megan Jones lost a tough, windy battle 8-6 in the girls' singles final. Ashley Hamilton and Rachael Crippa made it to the girls' doubles final and also lost 9-7, but not without some crowd pleasing rallies and net play.
Riley Hanson lost in the semi-finals 8-6. Cassidy Miley and Brigette Thomas made it to the girls' doubles quarter finals. Other players were Kevin Blas, Martin Felix, Omar Garcia, Antonio Matquez, Christoffer Mouritzen, Katja Peller and Cheyanne Stopol.
Wood River resumed its Great Basin Conference slate Tuesday at home against Twin Falls. The Wolverines host Canyon Ridge Thursday.