West Linn boys fight to second at district tennis
The West Linn boys tennis team proved itself to be one of the Three Rivers League's best during the 2018 regular season.
And the Lions — who went unbeaten in TRL dual matches this spring — were determined to repeat that feat at the 2018 Three Rivers League district tournament.
West Linn, facing the TRL's best at district — held May 7-9 at Portland Tennis Center — did just that, sending one singles player and one doubles team on to state and finishing second as a team.
Lakeridge won the district crown with 34 points, followed by West Linn's 31, Lake Oswego at 24.5, Tualatin at 14.5, Tigard at 13, Newberg at 12.5, Sherwood at 2.5 and Canby at 1. The Class 6A state tournament is set for May 17-19 at the Babette Horenstein Tennis Center (formerly Tualatin Hills) in Beaverton.
Leading the way for the Lions at district was sophomore singles player Logan Thompson. Thompson, a 2017 TRL doubles runner-up and this year's third-seeded singles player, made his first foray into singles a huge success, winning four straight matches without losing a set en route to reaching the tournament championship.
"There have been some great players I've played and some great matches this tournament," Thompson said. "I'm just glad to be here."
Thompson opened with a tough 7-6 (7), 7-6 win over Lake Oswego's Colton Lowry, followed with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Newberg's Spencer Lanier, made it three straight with a 6-0, 7-6 quarterfinal victory over Lake Oswego's Connor Whittington, then upset second-seeded Gabe Horwitz of Lake Oswego 6-0, 6-4 in their semifinal.
That set up his shot in the tournament championship match against top-seeded Lakeridge junior Jack Ninteman, who advanced to the title contest while losing just two games. In the finale, Ninteman used his powerful serve, big forehand and ability to finish points to knock off Thompson 6-0, 6-1 and secure his first TRL singles crown.
After his loss, Thompson credited Ninteman for his strong play.
"He was just outplaying me by a lot today," Thompson said. "He was just playing really well and I was just not making enough shots to compete with him."
Despite the result of the championship match, Thompson said he was looking forward to the upcoming state tournament.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. There's going to be some great players there," he said. "My goal is to get two rounds into state, one more than I did last year. I'm just going to work hard every match and then I'll be happy."
The Lions also saw junior Harry Winsper and Aidan Showalter reach the quarterfinals, with Winsper winning twice before dropping a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 decision to Tualatin's Will Havenar, and Showalter doing the same before falling 6-2, 6-1 to Horwitz in the quarterfinals.
In addition to Thompson's success, the Lions will also send the doubles team of senior Justin Lawrence and junior Grant Grainger on to state after the second-seeded team advanced to the district tournament semifinals.
That duo kicked off the tournament with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Lake Oswego's Max Bloom and Mitchell Weiss, dropped Newberg's Ben O'Loughlin and Mike Hopkins 6-2, 6-1 in round two, then ousted Tigard's Connor Ciula and Nathan Williams 6-2, 6-2 in their quarterfinal.
But sixth-seeded Erik Svoboda and Andrew Slominski of Lakeridge stopped Lawrence and Grainger's run in the semifinals, upsetting the West Linn duo 6-1, 5-7, 7-6.
The Lions also saw two additional doubles teams reach the tournament quarterfinals, with fifth-seeded Ben Walker and Alex Houlette going 2-1 before falling 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals to Newberg's Matt Weiler and Quentin Nigbur. Thomas Lesser and Nick Robinson followed suit, winning twice to reach the quarters before falling to top-seeded Ethan Davies and Dante Sterling of Lakeridge — the eventual doubles champs — 6-3, 6-0.
In consolation play, West Linn's Brian Wicklund and Riley Cook rallied from a first-round loss to win four straight times and claim the consolation championship, including a 6-1, 6-1 decision over Greg Wetlaufer and Evan Riley of Tigard in the final.