Cowboys have successful year
The Crook County High School boys tennis team recently had their most successful season in years.
Under the direction of third-year head coach Jonny Oelkers, the team advanced three players to the OSAA Class 4A State Tennis Championships.
Spanish foreign exchange student Javier Domingez went into the district tournament unseeded as the Cowboys' No. 2 singles player.
Playing his best tennis of the season, Domingez was able to upset multiple higher seeds as he advanced to state.
Once at the state tournament, Domingez dropped his first match before recovering to win his first consolation match.
Domingez was eliminated from the tournament in the consolation quarterfinals, but still had a highly successful state championship.
The doubles team of Alex and Moses Freauff also had a highly successful season.
The duo cruised through the league season, dropping just two matches.
Finishing fourth at district, the duo also went into the state tournament unseeded.
Like Domingez, the Freauff brothers dropped their first match before recovering to win one consolation match.
Although neither brother graduated this year, it remains to be seen if they will be a doubles team next year.
Alex will be 19 prior to the end of the year. According to OSAA rules, that will make him ineligible, barring a hardship appeal.
Either way, Moses will be back next year and is expected to lead the Crook County team.
The Cowboys will also lose their No. 1 singles player, Alex Nyman, to graduation as well as No. 3 singles player Holt Porfily.
Although those loses will hurt the team, the Cowboys will return the bulk of their doubles teams. Jordan Owens and Garrett Bond, Jeremy McCullough and Nick Cushman, Joey Stembeck and Colby Mason are all back, as is singles players Casey Hewitt.
The Cowboys also have a number of players returning from their JV program that could step into varsity roles.
Although the Cowboys have a lot of varsity players returning, next year will still be a major test for the team.
Crook County will be moving up from Class 4A to Class 5A. That should mean less travel for the team, but it will also mean tougher competition, particularly at the state tournament.
The Cowboys will step into the revamped Intermountain Conference.
Conference powerhouses Summit, Bend and Mountain View are moving up to Class 6A, but that still leaves Redmond and Ridgeview as well as newly added schools, Hood River Valley, The Dalles and Pendleton.
Unlike Class 4A, which had six leagues, Class 5A will only have four leagues next year, with four singles players and four doubles teams from each league advancing to the state tournament.
Each league will determine how they qualify players for the state tournament. That will presumably mean some form of district tournament, but different leagues may choose different formats for their tournaments.