The Lions graduated their top two singles players from a year ago, but still boast talent

TIDINGS FILE PHOTO - West Linn's Justin Lawrence (front) and Logan Thompson played to the doubles championship match in the Three Rivers League district tournament a year ago and will play important roles again this year.The West Linn boys tennis team was, to put it simply, one of the best in 2017.

The Lions went unbeaten in Three Rivers League play, won the TRL district tournament, and later, finished fifth at the Class 6A state tournament, the team's best finish in a decade.

This year, however, the Lions open play after losing their top two singles players — Matt Perkins and Sam Watt — to graduation and facing the always-tough Three Rivers League.

"We lost Matt Perkins and Sam Watt to graduation, so we're rebuilding, but (we have) a hard-working and talented team," said West Linn coach Ward Lewis.

Despite those losses, the Lions bring back a strong core of experienced returners, that group led by singles players Logan Thompson (a sophomore), Harry Winsper (a junior team captain), Aidan Showalter (a sophomore) and Andrew Walker (a sophomore).

Thompson was a TRL district runner-up in doubles and a state qualifier last spring, Winsper placed third in TRL singles and won a state berth, and Showalter was a district quarterfinalist in singles.

There's more talent and experience back in the doubles ladder, too, that group including senior Justin Lawrence, senior Ben Walker, senior Alex Houlette, junior Grant Grainger, junior Riley Cook, sophomore Brian Wicklund, junior Thomas Lesser, sophomore Toby Moos and sophomore Nick Robinson.

Lawrence — another team captain — paired with Thompson on that district runner-up doubles finish last year, while Ben Walker reached the second round of district play in doubles in '17.

"'Work hard and win' is our motto," Lewis said. "Just play better today than yesterday (and) take pride in competing for West Linn."

The Lions know they'll be pushed this year, though, notably by Lakeridge, Lake Oswego and Newberg.

"Lakeridge is a potential state tourney place-winner. (They) have 5-6 tournament players and is the class of the league," Lewis said. "Lake Oswego is resurgent and Newberg has a talented first singles player."

Contact Sports Editor Miles Vance at 503-330-0127 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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