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Spanish foreign exchange student upsets No. 2 seed in semifinals, falls to Breaden Brooks of Redmond in finals

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Pablo Casado prepares to play a shot during Friday's opening day of the Intermountain Conference Tennis Championships. Casado finished second to Breaden Brooks of Redmond, earning a trip to this weekend's state tournament. 
As a team, the Crook County Cowboys struggled at the Intermountain Conference Tennis Championships, which were held Friday and Saturday at Sam Johnson Park in Redmond.

Individually, things couldn't have gone much better for Spanish foreign exchange student Pablo Casado.

Casado, the Cowboys' No. 1 singles player, qualified for the state tournament when he reached the tournament semifinals Friday afternoon.

"I'm pretty excited," Casado said after punching his ticket to state. "But I want to get a better position so that I have an easier bracket at state. So I want to not get fourth. I want to get as high up as I can. I want to keep winning, but my matches won't be like they were today. It's going to be harder."

Casado added that he was looking forward to Saturday because playing against tougher opposition makes tennis more fun.

"Tomorrow is going to be so fun because the people that I am playing are going to be better, so it is going to be better and harder," he said. "I play tennis to have fun. That is the most important thing. I want to have fun, but then I want to win."

Casado upset No. 2-seed Vaughan Reardon of Hood River Valley in the semifinals.

Casado, the No. 3 seed, took the first set 6-2, then survived a tight second set by a 7-6 score.

Reardon had defeated Casado twice during the regular season.

"The first time was pretty close," Casado said. "The second one wasn't, but I was taking notes the whole time I was playing so I just figured out a plan on how to beat him. I made lots of friends here, and all of them were supporting me. It was a big shock winning."

The finals did not go as well for Casado, who fell 6-2, 6-2 to No. 1 seed Breaden Brooks of Redmond.

Other than Casado, just one Cowboy won a championship bracket match for the Cowboys.

Jeremy MucCullough narrowly won his first match only to face Brooks in the second round.

Brooks quickly dispatched MucCullough, who played No. 3 or 4 singles throughout the season for the Cowboys.

Three other Cowboys also picked up at least one win in the tournament.

After dropping his first round match, Jordon Owens rebounded to win one match in consolation play before being eliminated from the tournament.

The Cowboys' No. 1 doubles team of Moses Freauff and Yuya Yamaguchi, a Japanese foreign exchange student, also won matches in consolation play.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Yuya Yamaguchi plays a shot earlier this year. Yamaguchi and his doubles partner, Moses Freauff, finished second in the consolation bracket at the Intermountain Conference Tennis Tournament.Freauff and Yamaguchi entered the tournament unseeded.

Heading into the district tournament, Crook County head coach Jonny Oelkers said that Freauff and Yamaguchi had an outside chance to qualify for the state tournament.

However, the duo lost a close three-set match in the first round, dropping them into the consolation bracket, where they eventually became the consolation runner-ups.

"We could have done better," Freauff said. "I didn't play my best, but we had fun, and I really liked playing with Yuya."

Redmond easily won the district tournament, qualifying three doubles teams and Brooks for the state tournament.

The state tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 17-18. Friday matches will be held at the Portland Tennis Center, while Saturday matches are scheduled to be played at the Babette Horenstein Tennis Center in Beaverton.

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