Lady Bowmen take all the titles
McMINNVILLE — Emily McDonald couldn't stop smiling.
Abby Ramer didn't know how to put it into words. Mandie Jensen seemed a little overwhelmed by everything.
But they all had something in common — they are district champions.
McDonald, a Sherwood High School senior, won the singles title, while Ramer, a Lady Bowmen junior, and Jensen, a freshman, teamed up to claim the doubles crown at the Pacific Conference district tennis tournament, which concluded Saturday at Cowls Courts.
"It means a lot. I can't even explain it," McDonald said following her 6-0, 6-3 win over Forest Grove's Emily Lester in the girls singles title match. "My mouth hurts from smiling. This is what I've wanted since the first day of the season. It feels amazing."
"This is absolutely amazing," Ramer said. "There are no words to describe it. My goal was to make it through to the semifinals, so we'd be going to state, but we ended up winning the whole thing. But, the whole time, I thought we could totally win this, but it didn't become a reality until now."
"It means so much, I can't even explain it," Jensen said. "At the beginning of the season, my goal was just to get on varsity. I don't even know what to think of this. It's just amazing."
McDonald, Ramer and Jensen, as well as their Lady Bowmen teammate Kolleen Peters, and Diego Ciccarelli and Jamison Guerra from the Sherwood boys team, will next be competing at the Class 6A state tournament.
The top four placers in singles and doubles competition at the Pacific Conference 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.
"I'm just worrying about getting through the first round for now," McDonald said of the state tournament. "It's very, very, very exciting. It's been one of my goals since the beginning of the season."
And McDonald will be going to the state tournament as a district champion.
After drawing a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed, McDonald opened the Pacific Conference championships by scoring a 6-1, 6-0 win over McMinnville's Tori Fox in a second-round match. McDonald then got a 6-1, 6-1 win over Liberty's Ruoda Moler in the quarterfinals. McDonald then bested McMinnville's Emme Angevine by a 6-4, 6-0 score in the semifinals.
McDonald carried her momentum into the championship match with No. 2 seed Emily Lester of Forest Grove, powering her way to a 6-0 win in the first set.
"I wanted to start strong, so I had something to fall back on if I got in trouble," McDonald said. "I just played my game right off the bat. I just stayed patient."
The Sherwood senior then jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, only to see Lester rally to tie the score at 3-3. But McDonald responded in a big way.
"I wanted to bounce back, because I didn't want her to get any more," she said.
McDonald won the next two games to go up 5-3 in the second set. In the next game, she had three championship points, but wasn't able to convert on any of them. But she wasn't going to let her next opportunity slip away.
"I was thinking, 'just keep it in,'" McDonald said. "It was a little nerve-wracking, but, again, patience is my biggest thing."
That patience paid off, as McDonald converted on her fourth championship point of the game, giving her a 6-0, 6-3 win — and the district title.
"I screamed a little bit," she said with a laugh. "I was like, 'oh my God, I just won district.' It feels great."
McDonald will open the state tournament with a first-round match against Elizabeth Williams of Grants Pass.
Ramer and Jensen, the No. 2 seeds, picked up a pair of straight-set victories following a first-round bye to advance to the semifinals. In the semis, they dropped the first set against No. 3 seeds Carly Szedlak and Emme Cazares of McMinnville, before coming back to get a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Ramer and Jensen started strong in the title match against top-seeded Jillian Thornburg and Gavrielle Walters of McMinnville, getting a 6-3 win in the first set. But the McMinnville duo rallied in the second set, jumping out to a 4-0 lead on its way to getting a 6-2 victory, sending the match to a decisive third set.
But, with the teams tied at 1-1 to start the third set, the Lady Bowmen team took over, winning the next five games to get a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 victory, and the district title.
"We came out and got a break, and we said, 'we have to do this. We've got it,'" Jensen said of the third set. "We always encourage each other no matter what happens, and we keep going."
They kept it going all the way through the final point, where they got to celebrate a district title.
"Oh my gosh, we actually did it," Ramer said.
"I was just stunned," Jensen said. "We just did this. It was crazy."
Ramer and Jensen will open the state tournament with a first-round match against Lincoln's Cate Miller and Camilla Morse.
"I don't even know what that's going to be like, so that's exciting," Ramer said of the state tournament.
Peters, a Sherwood senior, took fourth place in singles play at the district tournament to earn her trip to state. Peters will face Tualatin's Jensen Barnes in a first-round state-tournament match.
Ciccarelli, a Sherwood sophomore, placed third in boys singles play at the district tournament, and Guerra, a Bowmen junior, and first-year tennis player, placed fourth. Ciccarelli got a three-set win over Guerra in the district third-place match.
Ciccarelli will open the state tournament with a first-round match against Central Catholic's Lucas Gorretta. Guerra will play South Medford's Elliot Hikade in the opening round.
The Sherwood girls captured the team title at the district tournament, while the Sherwood boys finished in second place.
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.