NHS singles, doubles players advance to state after earning district titles
The Newberg boys tennis team's sterling regular season run will continue into the postseason.
The Tigers will send a trio of players to the state tennis championships after they won at districts on Friday: senior Drew Selke as the team's No. 1 singles player and seniors Nick Frampton and Marcus Hopkins as the No. 1 doubles team.
Sellke swept Glencoe's Wyatt Zagyva 6-0, 6-1 on Friday at Century High School to win the district title. Frampton and Hopkins earned the district title with 6-2, 6-1 win over Konrad Gerold and Pablo Panariti of McMinnville on Friday.
The Tigers got their regular season started with a close loss to Lincoln, but followed that up by rattling off 12 consecutive wins over the course of the season to wrap up the Pacific Conference championship.
The team was led by nine seniors, who coach Aaron Rauch praised for their resilience given the oddities of their high school career: a standard freshman season, no sophomore season, a shortened junior season with no state match, and a senior year with a more normal regular season and postseason structure.
"I think adversity and acceptance of what it is has been huge for these guys," Rauch said. "They have a tolerance of weird stuff that maybe most people don't have to have at such an early age. I think it's going to serve them in life to have needed to flex and deal with their own disappointments. I now see it as a great thing, even though I will confess that I was frustrated from time to time with all the weirdness. But now I think we're all looking at it as we're better because of all this. Not just as tennis players, as people too."
This season has been a continuation of the excellence that Newberg displayed last year. Had there been a state tournament last spring, Newberg would have sent 11 players to state. Rauch is upbeat about the drop in state qualifiers, though.
"I suppose it could look like a letdown on paper, but we're really excited to send a singles player and a doubles team to state," Rauch said. "It's great to have a regular whole season and feel, especially for these nine seniors, that they can have a normal tennis season."
Selke is the team's lone singles representative at the state championship meet May 19-21 at the Babette Horenstein Tennis Center in Beaverton. The senior put together a 15-2 record heading into the district tournament and established himself as a dark horse for a state championship with his intelligent and patient play.
Frampton and Hopkins likewise put together an impressive campaign on the doubles side of the competitions, running up a 16-1 record en route to the district tournament. That lone loss was incredibly close and came in the season debut against Lincoln's Cy Cupper and Cooper Lahti. The duo is aggressive in earning its points, trying to win quickly and efficiently.
Rauch expects his tennis players to have an uphill battle against some of the top teams in the state at the 6A championships. Instead of focusing on challenging for a state championship, Rauch is looking for a focus on the moment.
"My expectations are that they stay engaged and focused in every point, in every game, in every set," Rauch said. "And that they're having a great time doing it and stay positive through their matches and celebrate the fact they have accomplished something not a lot of people get to do: get to a state tournament in an individual sport. That's saying quite a bit."
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