Tualatin's Jensen Barnes reaches district tourney finals
PORTLAND — With strong play and determination, Jensen Barnes came oh so close to winning a district championship.
Now, the Tualatin High School senior is ready to make a run at another championship — a bigger championship.
Barnes, after claiming the second place spot in girls singles play at the Three Rivers League district tournament, is taking high hopes, and determination, into play at the Class 6A state tournament.
"I definitely want to win it," Barnes said following play at the Three Rivers League tournament, which concluded Friday at the Portland Tennis Center. "I go into every tournament wanting to win every match. I think I've got a legitimate shot to do it."
The top four placers in singles and doubles competition at the TRL district tournament advance to play in the Class 6A state tournament, which will be held Thursday through Saturday at the Babette Horenstein Tennis Center in Beaverton.
Barnes, who earned her third state tournament singles berth in her four years at Tualatin, got off to a fast start at the Three Rivers League district tourney. She opened play with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Lakeridge's Amy Jia in a first-round match. In the second round, Barnes got a 6-0, 6-1 win over Lake Oswego's Jacqueline Booth.
In the quarterfinals, with a state berth on the line, Barnes defeated Vy Lam of St. Mary's Academy by a 6-0, 6-2 score. Barnes then defeated Lake Oswego's Julia Lininger-White 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals, putting her in the championship match against Lake Oswego's Miriam Nechiporuk.
Nechiporuk started strong in the title contest, jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the opening set. Barnes, fighting back, won the next two games to cut the lead to 4-3, but Nechiporuk answered by winning the next two games, giving her a 6-3 first-set victory.
The second set was a back-and-forth battle. Nechiporuk grabbed an early 2-1 lead, but Barnes came storming back, winning four of the next five games to go up 5-3. Then Nechiporuk came back strong, tying the set at 6-6, sending it to a tie-breaker.
The tie-breaker was knotted up at 3-3, before Nechiporuk was able to pull away to get a 7-4 win, giving her the district title with a 6-3, 7-6 victory.
"It was a good match, it went back and forth," said Barnes, who had International Baccalaureate testing earlier in the day. "I'll take my energy from this and take it to state. I'm going to be 100-percent motivated."
Barnes goes into the Class 6A state tournament as the No. 6 seed for singles play (Nechiporuk is the No. 3 seed), and she'll face Sherwood senior Kolleen Peters in a first-round match on Thursday.
"Every time I play, I need to know that this is what I've been working for," Barnes said.
Also for the Tualatin girls at the district tournament, sophomore Avery Lewis won her first two matches to reach the singles quarterfinals, where she was edged 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 by Lininger-White. Timberwolf senior Meghan MacPherson won her first-round match.
In doubles play, the Tualatin team of sophomores Kate Vohlland and Hannah Shaub, and the team of juniors Darci Chamberlain and Elyse Burton, each reached the second round.
For the Tualatin boys, senior Jack Rose got to the second round in singles play, while sophomore Andrew Monkarsh won the consolation title. In doubles play the team of senior Drew Malinowski and junior Kaden Eaton got to the second round. The team of senior Bo Jackson and freshman Sean Khanna won the consolation title.
Action at the Class 6A state tournament is set to start at 8 a.m. both Thursday and Friday, and at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday.