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Tai Shibahara and Carson Eaton faced off against a pair from Philomath High School during the tournament

COURTESY PHOTO - Tai Shibahara, Carson Eaton, Estacada Coach Nathan Allen, Cascade coach Justin Amaya, Colton Lee, and Jacob Farr pose for a photo after the district tournament earlier this season.

A pair of Estacada High School senior tennis players topped off their careers at the 2021 state championships.

During the OSAA's culminating week for boys tennis starting May 17, Tai Shibahara and Carson Eaton faced Dylan Bell and Nicholas Stucki from Philomath High School at the state championships in Roseburg.

The Estacada duo lost to Pilomath 2-6, 6-3, and 3-6.

"If we hadn't been playing the No. 1 seed in the first game, I think we easily would have placed in the top five," said coach Nathan Allen, noting that they lost a close match against Philomath at the beginning of the season and were excited to play them again. "It was the best tennis I've seen from Estacada in a long time."

Reflecting on the season, Allen described a match Eaton and Shibahara had against Colton Lee and Jacob Farr from Cascade High School as "epic."

"It was the best match of the district tournament," he said. "A typical match takes around an hour. This one was over three hours long. Every point was fought for with any games having more than four deuces. We were up 5-3 in both of the first sets and Cascade fought back to force tie breakers in both sets. We lost the first set 6-7 (5-7) then won the second set 7-6 (7-2) and lost the third set 5-7 after being up 3-0 and then 4-2 later on."

Allen is proud of Shibahara and Eaton, who have played tennis since they were freshmen.

"It was great to have the chance to go to state and play high-quality tennis," he said, adding that the best part of the season was watching athletes have the opportunity to play. "We weren't sure we would be able to, since they missed their junior year because of COVID."

He encouraged Eaton and Shibahara to keep up their interest in tennis after graduation.

"It was great watching them as they began to reach their potential," he said. "Tennis is a lifelong sport. Keep playing."

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