Madras tennis scores big wins in top spots as districts draw near
As the White Buffalo tennis teams kicked off the final week of league play before their district tournaments next week, the Madras girls defeated Molalla 5-2 on Tuesday, May 3, while the boys team fell to the Indians 5-3.
Madras girls sweep in doubles
Lorena Macias and Natalie Ramos scored a big victory over Mollala's No. 1 doubles team of Chloe Norgren and Kenzie Clonkey, prevailing in a 8-6, 5-7, 10-8 battle with one of the district's top pairs. Fellow seniors Christina Thomas and Nancy Schirmer also went to three sets in their win in the Buffs' No. 2 doubles spot, defeating Kylie Smith and Lily Nauta 7-5, 4-6, 10-7.
Madras made it a clean sweep in the doubles, with No. 3 pairing Heidi Sedano and Idaly Romero taking a 7-5, 6-2 win off of Macy Jones and Emily Hewett while Anna and Jenny Park teamed up to beat Olivia Ehleringer and Ava Nix 6-4, 6-2. Karman Sangha picked up the only singles win of the day for the White Buffalos, beating Mattie Danforth 6-3, 6-0 in the No. 3 position.
While none of the Madras girls project to be among the top four seeds in next week's tournament, the team's top two doubles squads — Macias/Ramos and Schirmer/Thomas — could make dark-horse runs in their bracket. Singles success could be harder to come by, but it is worth noting that Sangha is 2-0 in league matches, albeit out of the No. 3 position.
The 4A/3A/2A/1A Girls Tennis Special District 2 tournament will likely come down to a pair of sophomores on the singles side, as Juhree Kizziar of Sisters is 12-0 on the year while Bailey Bell of Philomath boasts an 11-1 record. Kizziar is the No. 2 player in the state of Oregon — regardless of classification — per rankings on TennisReporting.com. Bell, meanwhile, is ranked No. 7 statewide. Those two have not met this season; however, a meeting in the district championship match seems likely at this stage. The top challenger to crash that party would likely be freshman Laina Atiyeh of Stayton, who is ranked No. 33 and has a record of 6-2 on the year.
On the doubles side, Cascade's pairing of senior Marilyn Suelzle and junior Ariel Tobiasson is currently ranked as the sixth best doubles team in the state. Those two are 10-1 on the year, with their only loss coming in a non-league match against Silverton's eighth-ranked doubles team. Suelzle and Tobiasson easily defeated the district's second-best pairing, Phoebe Dodson and K Bacho of Philomath, in a match on Tuesday, May 3.
Buffs strong in singles, but doubles falter
The Madras boys had roughly the opposite day from the girls team, taking three out of four singles matches from Molalla while failing to pick up a win in doubles action.
Riley Adair, the team's No. 1 singles player, continued a strong finish to his senior season. Adair has now won four of his last five matches after defeating Martin Ruiz 6-1, 6-2, and he could end up being one of the top four seeds in next week's district tournament. Fellow senior Leo Olivera also continued a sudden hot streak, picking up his second win in a row after starting the year 0-6. Olivera beat Molalla's No. 2 singles entry, Caden Landis, in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 three-setter. Theo Miller, a sophomore, improved to 3-2 in league matches after beating Adam Mendoza-Reynaga 6-0, 6-4, in the No. 3 spot. Molalla won by default in the uncontested No. 4 match.
The Buffs were swept in the doubles matches, with Toni Hernandez and Cruz Fisher putting up the best fight in a 2-6, 6-4, 4-6 loss to Molalla's No. 2 pairing of Dakota Burke and Sennett Grassl. Matias Ruiz Jr. and Julian Santellano also went to three sets in their 6-2, 4-6, 2-6 loss to the No. 3 team of Nicolas Olgoso and Jaime Ortego.
Adair, who is the fifth-highest ranked player in the district and has the fourth-best league record, possess the best chances of making a deep run for Madras in the district tournament and booking a spot in the state tournament. On the doubles end, the young No. 1 pairing of Fernando Saldana and Keith Charley III could also make some noise, while Hernandez and Fisher will look to regain the form that saw them win three league matches in a row earlier in the season.
Looking at the 4A/3A/2A/1A Boys Tennis Special District 2 tournament more broadly, Cascade junior Zach Moore is the No. 3 player in the state and should be the odds-on favorite going into next week. Moore is 10-0 on the season, and he just scored a major win over fellow junior Dawson Beckstead of Philomath — a top-10 player statewide — on Tuesday, May 3. Those two will likely meet in the district final, though Adair and Gage Hurst of North Marion (ranked No. 20 in the state) could have something to say about that.
Philomath's third-ranked pairing of senior Noah Aynes and junior Theodore Benbow may have appeared to be the district favorite as they entered the week undefeated, but that honor now likely belongs to Cascade's senior duo of Austin Thatcher and Issac Schnepp. The Cougar pair just beat Aynes and Benbow on Tuesday, giving Cascade another big confidence boost to go along with Moore's defeat of Beckwith. Thatcher and Schnepp have two losses outside of the league, but they have yet to lose inside the district.
Madras closes out the season with matches against Stayton on Thursday, May 5. The girls team will host the Eagles at Madras High School, while the boys will travel to Stayton. Both meets will begin at 4 p.m.
Next week, Madras will host the opening rounds of the district tournament on Monday, May 9, with a full day of action scheduled at the high school. The boys will be in Estacada for the opening rounds on the same day. Then, later rounds will be played in Salem on Thursday and Friday, May 12-13, with both boys and girls tournament action taking place at Salem Tennis & Swim. The top four placers in each district tournament will advance to the OSAA 4A/3A/2A/1A Tennis State Championships in Corvallis on Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, at Oregon State University.
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