West Linn's Jax Ledwith wins singles crown in Three Rivers League district tennis
The Lake Oswego girls and West Linn boys tennis teams made 2022 their year.
The Lakers and Lions proved it at the Three Rivers League district tournament — held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, May 11-13, at Portland Tennis Center — and qualified several players for the upcoming Class 6A state tournament.
The state tournament is set for May 19-21 at Babette Horenstein Tennis Center in Beaverton. Play begins at 8 a.m. each day.
West Linn stepped up big-time at district and walked away with four of the league's eight berths to state — two each in singles and doubles.
Top-seeded junior Jax Ledwith set the pace in singles, opening the tournament with a bye and then winning three straight times by 6-0, 6-0 scores to reach the championship. There, he just kept rolling, taking the tournament title with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over third-seeded Lake Oswego senior Kyle Zhang.
Zhang earned his berth in the finale by winning four straight times in straight sets, an effort highlighted by his 6-4, 6-4 upset of second-seeded Lakeridge junior Daniel Kaukonen in his semifinal.
Also headed to state in singles are West Linn freshman Zach Steinberg and Kaukonen, with Steinberg posting a 6-2, 6-3 win over Kaukonen in the third-place match.
In doubles, Lakeridge seniors Tyler Pyle and Nathan Mittlestadt broke through to win the tournament championship after entering play as the third seed. Pyle and Mittlestadt battled their way into the semifinals without losing a set, then upset the second-seeded Lake Oswego duo of junior Cooper Whittington and senior Alec Beechem 6-3, 6-4.
Pyle and Mittlestadt kept the heat on in the championship, knocking off West Linn's top-seeded team — junior Cameron Paulson and freshman Rhyson Chiang — 6-4, 7-6 to claim the TRL crown.
Whittington and Beechem then secured third place by beating the fourth-seeded West Linn duo of sophomore Grant Hawkins and junior Nick Owens 6-3, 6-4.
The Lakers backed up their incredible regular season — they went unbeaten in TRL play — with another stellar effort at district, capturing second and third place in singles, and second and fourth place in doubles.
In singles, second-seeded senior Emma Chang played her way into the tournament finale, opening with a bye and then winning three straight times without losing a set to reach the championship. She beat freshman teammate Malina Johnson 6-2, 6-2 in her semifinal before finally being derailed in the title match by top-seeded Tigard sophomore Sydney Board 6-4, 6-3.
Johnson also went 4-1 at district, coming back from her semifinal loss to beat Tigard junior Alyssa Thoren 6-3, 6-1 in the tournament's third-place match.
In doubles, top-seeded West Linn juniors Kate DeVall and Meg DeVall were unstoppable, starting the tournament with a bye and then winning four straight matches without losing a set. In the championship, the DeValls powered past the third-seeded Lake Oswego duo of senior Rebecca Prassas and Ella Eames 6-4, 6-2. Prassas and Eames earned their berth in the final by upsetting second-seeded St. Mary's seniors Vy Lam and Olivia Kuchela 6-4, 6-3 in their semifinal.
Also headed to state in doubles are Lake Oswego freshmen Rachel Khalili and Kate Eames; they finished fourth after falling to Lam and Kuchela 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.
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