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Madras No. 1 doubles team can't get by tough Philomath squad, heading to state tournament.

STEELE HAUGEN - Tony Giron (left) and Esteban Gomez (right) stand with head coach Margaret Kincaid (middle), after the doubles team placed second at the district tournament May 9.The Madras boys doubles tennis team of Tony Giron and Esteban Gomez took second place at districts May 9, at the Blacke Butte Ranch in Sisters.

Giron and Gomez were the No. 1 seed heading into the district tournament and easily won their first match of districts May 2, in Madras.

The two moved on to the second round of districts at Blacke Butte Ranch May 6. The No. 1 seed showed why they were seeded so high, taking care of business in the second round, defeating both Stone/Bertch, of Cascade, and Bates/Collins-Burke, of Sisters.

In the third and final round of districts, Giron and Gomez were matched up against Kizzier/Chapen, a tough team from Sisters.

The first set was a struggle for both teams, struggling with serves and having to deal with a slow set with very few rallies. Giron and Gomez had a 4-3 lead in the first set, but lost the next three games, losing the first set 6-4.

STEELE HAUGEN - MHS boys doubles team of Esteban Gomez (pictured) and Tony Giron placed  second at district May 9, at Black Butte Ranch .
"I could have done better because I couldn't get my serves down," Gomez said about his semifinals performance. "We have been through being down many times before, so we knew we needed to take a deep breath, be calm and just be relaxed and loose. I kept thinking about all the other matches we have made a comeback and I knew we could end this match."

"It was boring at the front because they were hitting the ball away from me and Tony was getting all the action," he said. "I would just take advantage of any bad hit and make them pay."

The Madras doubles team came out strong in the second set, taking a large 4-1 lead, but Sisters cut the score down to 4-3.

Giron and Gomez dug deep for a second set, 6-3 victory, with several close games. The match was tied 1-1 heading into the final set of the semifinals match.

The combination of Giron serving well and Gomez controlling the action at the net gave the Buffs a 5-2, one victory game away from reaching the finals for the second year in a row.

Kizzier/Chapen showed no quit in them, tying the last set at 5-5 and all the momentum was with Sisters. Through determination and grit, Giron and Gomez won the next two games and won the third set 7-5.

After their 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 semifinals victory, Giron and Gomez were matched up with a familiar face, going against the Philomath team of Haslem/Stucki.

"The first set sucked," Giron said. "We were all off; it was slow tennis with a lot of lobs. The second set was better, with everyone hitting their shots, more rallies and longer rallies. When the match was close, I knew we needed to hit our serves. A strategy that has worked all year is when I get a good serve in and they have trouble returning the ball, sending it right to Esteban, where he takes care of it. Those Philomath guys are good and it will be a great match. I am looking forward to it."

STEELE HAUGEN - Tony Giron (pictured) and doubles partner Esteban Gomez will compete at state in Corvallis May 17-18.Giron and Gomez lost to Luke Haslem and Antonio Feld, of Philomath, during the 2018 district finals match and were seeking revenge this season.

The finals match barely started before both doubles teams decided it would be necessary to bring in a line judge in the highly anticipated rematch.

The first set was exactly what the players were ready for — a battle and a war. Haslem/Stucki took an early 5-4 lead, but Madras tied the set at 5-5. The Philomath team came away with a 7-5 first set victory.

In the second set, Madras players were the ones who took a 5-4 lead and were one game away from winning the second set. Philomath tied the set at 5-5, securing at least two more games.

Giron and Gomez played smart and took the lead back at 6-5, but Philomath showed its resilience, tying the set at 6-6 and sending the match into a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker came down to whoever won the first seven games. Haslem/Stucki took control early taking a 4-2 lead and eventually earned a 7-5 tiebreaker, set win, claiming gold for Philomath.

"The finals match was the best tennis those two have played all year long," Madras boys tennis coach Margaret Kincaid said. "Even though we had some separation at the beginning, they really just left off from where they were last year and were better than expected."

"I think both of them really want it at state," she said. "I saw both of them play their hearts out and I have never seen them want something that badly, which is really exciting. I am very proud of them and the self-motivation they have."

Giron and Gomez lost 7-5, 6-6 (7-5) to place second, but qualified for state in Corvallis, May 17-18. The Madras doubles team will play at the Oregon State University tennis complex at 10 a.m., facing Luke Barnes and Isaac Nemec, of Baker/Powder Valley.

STEELE HAUGEN - Angel Ramos (pictured) and doubles partner Sebastian Norato made it to the condolation finals match, but lost at the district tournament.The Madras boys doubles team of Kobey Jorgensen and Roberto Garcia won their first round match over Gianella/Torian, of North Marion May 2, reaching the second round.

They won their first match against Stucki/Alston, Philomath, moving on to the quarterfinals match against Kizzier/Chapen, Sisters. The two lost to Kizzier and Chapen, and were eliminated from the tournament.

In the consolation bracket, two Madras teams made it to the semifinals, but had to play each other to see who would be playing in the consolation finals match.

Byron Patt and Kahne Herkshan were matched up with Angel Ramos and Sebastian Norato. Ramos and Norato were able to beat Patt and Herkshan, moving to the finals.

They lost the consolation finals match, placing second in the consolation doubles bracket.

Luis Mancera made it to the consolation semifinals match for Madras, but lost to Keaton Greene, of Sisters.

"I think the amount of boys we brought to the tournament (nine) shows how strong this group of boys was and how hard they have worked to get to where they are," Kincaid said. "I think it is a pretty cool achievement to have nine boys move on throughout the bracket with Tony (Giron) and Esteban (Gomez) making it to the finals."

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