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As districts get started, senior Riley Adair leads a pack of Madras players hoping to qualify for the state tournament.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Madras senior Riley Adair is the top singles player on the team and likely has the best odds of qualifying for state. Adair played doubles last year and placed fifth at state with since-graduated partner Jesus Cruz.

After bad weather in the forecast caused changes to the original schedule, the Madras boys tennis team will now begin its district tournament on Thursday, May 12, in Salem. The schools had originally planned to play the first rounds in Estacada, but the decision was made late Tuesday afternoon to forgo a separate Day 1 event and simply play the full district tournament in Salem.

Madras senior Riley Adair comes in as the team's top singles player, though he narrowly missed out on earning a top-four seed in the district tournament. Still, Adair should feel good going into the first round after winning five of his past six matches — including four in a row — and having already bested his opponent, Jaxon Berry of Sisters, earlier this year. After qualifying for state last year in a doubles pairing, Adair is looking to get there again as a singles player.

Fellow senior Leo Olivera, the team's No. 2 singles player, has won three straight matches after starting the season 0-6. As a result, Olivera comes in hot as he looks to extend his senior season with a win over the winner of the qualifier match between Ben Haefs of Sisters and Jason Ritchie of Stayton.

The Buffs' No. 3 singles player, sophomore Dereck Salgado, will take on Zenus Ortega of Sisters in a qualifier match of his own, a single pro set to eight points. The winner will go on to face Trey Shibihara of Estacada.

The fourth and final singles player is Madras sophomore Theo Miller, who will take on Woodburn's Ricardo Rojas in the first round. Miller is 3-3 in singles play this year, while Rojas is 1-1 with his only win coming in a one-setter.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - The Madras boys tennis team has run out sophomore Keith Charley III (front) and freshman Fernando Saldana (back) as its No. 1 doubles pair throughout most of the year. Now, the young duo will try to make it to state.In doubles action, Madras runs out a No. 1 pairing made up of freshman Fernando Saldana and sophomore Keith Charley III. They will take on Irvin Ibanez and Angel Contreras of North Marion.

Madras senior Toni Hernandez and freshman Cruz Fisher form the No. 2 doubles team, and they have had the most wins on the Buffs' roster this season, going 4-3 when playing together. Hernandez and Cruz will try to keep up the winning ways against David Torrescano and Bryan Reyes of Estacada in a qualifier match before the first round. Torrescano and Reyes are 7-1 on the year.

The freshman duo of Matias Ruiz Jr. and Julian Santellano has been playing as Madras' No. 3 this season, and now they will face the third-best team in the district. Ruiz and Santellano drew Joshua Lam and Caden Cox of Molalla, a pairing that is 7-2 this year.

Finally, the No. 4 team of Phillip Arthur and Isaiah Rubio-Moschetti will grapple with Victor Gomez and Eli Howard of Stayton, who went 2-2 this season when paired up together. Arthur and Rubio-Moschetti are 1-4 in doubles action coming into the district tournament.

Looking at the field 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. Another pair of potential state qualifiers were matched up in the first round, as Estacada's Santiago Herrera-Morales goes toe-to-toe with Dylan Bell of Philomath. Herrera-Morales edged out Adair for the No. 4 seed in the bracket, while Bell was 11-1 this season in the No. 2 spot behind Beckstead.

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 May 3, 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.

The 4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 2 boys tournament will be played at Salem Tennis & Swim on Thursday and Friday, May 12-13.


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