Jesuit boys tennis makes a statement
In what was the first significant tennis event in Oregon since the beginning of the pandemic, the Jesuit Crusaders' boys rose to the challenge, defeating eight of the state's best teams in the Oregon High School Tennis Championships April 8-9, at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton.
Jesuit head coach Jeff Wood was excited for his team, but equally excited to get back what was taken from them more than two years ago.
"As this was the first 'normal' high school tennis event since COVID, there was certainly a lot of excitement and emotion in the air," Wood said. "The absence really makes one appreciate the ability to get lost in the fun of these matches, and for two days, I think the only thing any one of us thought was that this was high school tennis at its best."
The Crusaders finished with 74 points, 19.5 points clear of second-place Lincoln (54.5) and 33 points clear of third-place Sunset (41). Central Catholic (35) was fourth, Beaverton (17) fifth, Lakeridge (15) sixth, Lake Oswego (11.5) seventh, and Redmond (1) eighth.
Central Catholic senior Gus Krauel won the No. 1 singles title by defeating Lincoln sophomore Will Semler in the three-set final. But Jesuit won the remaining three singles titles, with sophomores Aaron Yan and Reif Larson winning the No. 2 and No. 3 brackets, while junior Rohan Varma reigned supreme in the No. 4 bracket.
Additionally, Jesuit's No. 1 seed Sid Chava battled against some of the state's best, losing a three-set second round thriller to Semler 6-2, 4-6, 7-6.
Equally impressive was the Crusaders' work in doubles, where the teams of Yohan Pandya/Jake Paulson (No. 2), Declan Doan/Richard Anderson (No. 3), and Alex Tran/Victor Li (No. 4) all won their brackets.
Wood said he was impressed with the way his team handled the pressure of the event despite the limited action of the past couple of years.
"As this was the first big test in a while, I learned that the hard work that these team members have put in has paid off," the coach said. "The opportunity in high school tennis can be fleeting, so you need to jump on it when given the chance. This adds to the pressure, so when these guys perform like this, it says a lot about their competitive spirt."
Wood said depth was a big key to Jesuit's win, and they'll need that depth later in the season at both the Metro League district and state events.
"I think we proved ourselves to be the best dual meet team of the tournament," he said. "With the top teams there, I think we made the statement that we are a very good team."
And what will that mean going forward? Wood said that will depend on their continued ability to improve and prepare for the challenge to come.
"We hope to build from this and defend our Metro League title," Wood said. "The league is very tough as always, so hopefully we can stay healthy and be ready for district and get the numbers to state."
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