3A state tennis: Hanford's Troxel picks up bronze medal

May 25, 2013 

The Mid-Columbia didn’t crown any tennis champions on Saturday, but there still was plenty of hardware taken home at the end of the day.

Hanford’s Sierra Troxel earned another bronze-medal finish in 3A girls singles, while Southridge’s Sarah Morgan and Sofia Morrison improved on last year’s fifth-place finish by placing third.

Southridge’s Bailee Sanderson and Shyler Sullivan finished seventh as the Suns finished third in the team race with 12 points.

Also in girls singles, Kennewick’s Stephanie Buckingham finished seventh, dropping a 6-3, 6-3 match to Cello Lockwood of Holy Names.

For Troxel, it was her final go at a state title, but a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 loss to Catherine Allen of Holy Names dropped back into the third-place match, where she beat Shea Wojciehowski of Lakeside 6-2, 6-2.

“The most important thing for me was my team,” Troxel said. “Setting a good example that someone from this side of the state can go to state and do well. Everything is doable, it just doesn’t always turn out the best.”

Troxel, who battled leg cramps in her final match, said she was fine with third place.

“Nora (Tan) and Catherine are both great players,” she said.

Troxel will attend Lipscomb University (Nashville, Tenn.) and will play tennis for the Bisons.

“I can hardly wait,” said Troxel, who will major in biochemistry. “I’m counting the days. I’m the only U.S. player coming in this year. Of the eight players, only three of us are U.S. kids.”

Mercer Island’s Tan, who is Stanford bound, won her second consecutive state title, beating Allen 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

Mercer Island, which also picked up the doubles title thanks to the effort of twin sisters Lydia and Gabrielle Venditti, won its fifth-consecutive team title, rolling up 26 points. Holy Names was second with 16, followed by Southridge.

Morgan and Morrison dropped their semifinal match to the Venditti sisters 6-0, 6-4, then bounced back to earn bronze with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Lilly Le and Miriam Cabrera of Lincoln.

“We feel good about third,” said Morgan, who is headed to BYU in the fall. “We had a solid season. I couldn’t have had a better partner — there were a lot of high-fives.”

Morgan and Morrison finished the season with a 23-1 record.

“They were a tough team and they deserved to finish first,” Morrison said of the Vendittis. “We figured out how to play them in the second set, but couldn’t close it out.”

Sanderson and Sullivan won their first match, lost in the quarterfinals, then won a loser-out match to earn a shot at fourth place.

They dropped a hard-fought placing match to Danielle Brengelmann and Francesca O’Malley of Shorewood 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

3A boys

Bainbridge’s Matt Alderson and Jacob Christensen had the doubles title in their grasp for a second consecutive year, only to see it slip through their fingers with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Kyle Baska and Matt Seifert of Mercer Island.

“This was their second time in a row here and they really had their sights set on (a title),” Bainbridge coach Mike Anderson said. “It was a season-long goal. It’s disappointing, but give credit to Mercer Island, they played a heck of a match.”

Alderson and Christensen lost year’s final to Kennedy’s Mitch and Jamie Thorp 7-5, 6-4.

Mercer Island won the team title with 31 points, while Interlake was second with 15 points, just edging Bainbridge, which had 14.

Saturday, Alderson and Christensen had a 3-1 lead in the first set before having to win a tie-breaker 12-10 for a 7-6 victory.

Baska and Seifert led the second set 3-1 and 5-3 before Alderson held serve and the Spartans battled through three deuces to pull within 5-4.

Baska served for the win to force a third set.

Bainbridge won the opening game of the final set, but trailed 4-1 before breaking the serve of Seifert for the first time in the match to pull within 4-2.

Christensen held serve to make it 4-3, but Mercer Island held serve through three deuces for a 5-3 lead.

Alderson, who is headed to Whitman College in the fall, pulled the Spartans to within 5-4, but Seifert, playing in his first state tournament, served for the win.

“The goal was to get better than third,” said Baska, who finished third with Marcus Almqvist last year. “This has been so much fun.”

“It was unbelievable,” Seifert add. “This was such a fun match. The first set was insane.”

The Hanford team of Shane Sandlin and Kevin Sands finished fifth, beating Vince Viloria and Taas Sribhibhadh of Kennedy 7-6 (5), 6-2.

While Baska if off to Chapman University (Orange, Calif.) in the fall, Seifert, a junior, will be back next year.

“I’m not a singles guy, so I will have to find a new partner,” he said.

Jamie Thorp, who won two state doubles titles with his brother Mitch, moved to singles this season, and put his perfect high school record on the line in the championship match against Connor Garnett of Interlake.

Garnett, who won the 2A singles title last year as a freshman, handed Thorp his first high school loss, taking home gold with a 6-1, 6-1 victory.

“It was tough,” Garnett said of the match. “I was just in the moment. It’s always tough moving up a level and playing different guys.”

Garnett finished the season 15-0 in singles. He played a few doubles matches during the season while battling a stress fracture in his right humerus.

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