The North Marion tennis team will be represented at this year's state tennis championship after third-seeded senior Gage Hurst marched his way to the semifinals Thursday, May 12.
The Huskies' top-ranked singles player made relatively short work of his first three opponents in the 4A Special District 2 championship tournament held over three days last week in Madras and Salem.
The North Marion senior went 6-0, 6-2 in his opening match against Cascade's Carson Baugher and followed with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Estacada's Ben Haefs in the third round.
With a state tournament bid on the line, Hurst had little trouble dispatching Philomath sophomore Andrew Leonard in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-2. But that's as far as Hurst would go, running into Philomath's top-seeded junior Dawson Beckstead, falling 6-3, 6-1. Beckstead went on to lose 6-0, 6-1 to Stayton state champion hopeful Zach Moore in the finals.
Meanwhile, Hurst gutted out a tough third-place game against unseeded Philomath senior Dylan Ball, who opened the tournament with a three-set upset victory over 4-seed Santiago Herrera Morales of Estacada.
Hurst took Bell the distance in each of his two sets, but the Philomath senior ultimately took home the victory 7-6 (7)/6-4.
Hurst's fourth-place finish helped the boys team finish fourth overall in the district standings with 10 points, behind league champion Cascade (33), Philomath (32) and Molalla (22).
On the girls side, juniors Ali Lader and Ximena Diaz rallied for a 4-6/6-1/6-2 victory in the second round over Sisters teammates Jenna Kizziar and Josie Patton to advance to the second day of competition. The North Marion girls team finished ninth in the team standings with 2 points.
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