With 38 state championships in the works this weekend, Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Director Mike Colbrese will be a busy man, but he knows he won’t have to give two of those events a second thought.
The Class 3A boys and girls tennis tournaments open today and run through Saturday at Kamiakin High School and Tri-City Court Club. With the combined efforts of Kamiakin athletic director Don Schumacher, Braves coach George Carlson and Al Hopp at TCCC, the tournaments run like clockwork.
“It’s the fact we know we are in good hands in the Tri-Cities,” Colbrese said. “George has done a great job, Don has been a stalwart, and the community really embraces us. We are fortunate to have a really strong team of good people, and for the most part, they generally have good weather.”
Kamiakin and TCCC have hosted the state tournament off and on for several years. Carlson, 72, who has been coaching at Kamiakin since it opened in 1970, said Kamiakin hosted its first state tournament in 1985 and has fluctuated between the 3A and 4A events, depending on Kamiakin’s classification.
“Some of the blessings I’ve had are kids coming back to the tournament because their kids are playing,” Carlson said. “We have some really good help, and if not for the Court Club, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”
“We enjoy doing it,” said Hopp, director of tennis at TCCC. “We’ve done it for 20 years or so now. It’s a logical event for our area, but if we need to, we have the facility to run it completely indoors. It’s nice that we’ve had a lot of local champions over the years.”
New to the Tri-Cities this spring is the 4A boys and girls state tennis tournaments, to be held at Richland High School, Hanford High School and Columbia Basin Racquet Club.
Though this tournament is new to CBRC, it has vast experience in hosting tournaments.
“Everything is done through the WIAA,” said Will Taylor, co-site director with Randy Willis at CBRC. “We run tournaments all the time. We really like being able to host something like this. It’s good for the kids in this area to see the level of play that can be reached.”
While the 3A venues are just a few blocks from each other, the 4A venues are spread out. Taylor does not see this as a problem.
“The Tri-Cities doesn’t have traffic issues,” he said. “You can get from A to B pretty easily.”
The tennis tournaments, along with the 1A state softball in Richland and the 3A and 4A state baseball in Pasco, will bring about 3,500 visitors to the Mid-Columbia this weekend, according to the Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau.
“We are fortunate to have these events here,” said Hector Cruz, director of sports development. “We can expect about an $850,000 economic impact this weekend. We have five state championships this weekend. Some are new, but others like tennis we’ve had for quite a few years.”
Cruz said the TCVCB put in a bid for the 4A tennis, the 3A and 4A baseball and the 1A softball, and got all of them.
“One big factor with the WIAA is we are fortunate to have great weather for outdoor tournaments,” Cruz said. “We also have good facilities, and that helps make us a premier sports destination.”
3A boys singles: Hanford’s Luke Thompson, coming off his fourth consecutive regional title, is one of the favorites this weekend, along with Jordan Smith of Mercer Island, last year’s state runner-up. Thompson finished third last year, beating Zach Kosanke of Bellevue 6-0, 6-2. Thompson opens play today against Kosanke. Of note, the CBBN has all of the state seeds -- singles and doubles, boys and girls -- shutting out the Spokane schools for the first time in at least 25 years.
3A boys doubles: The Thorp brothers, Mitchell (senior) and Jamie (sophomore), are back. The Kennedy doubles team went 17-0 last year in winning their first state title. They are coached by their mom, Maryann (nee Raftis), who won a state singles title for Kent-Meridian in 1979.
3A girls singles: There are four returning placers from last year in this weekend’s draw, including Hanford’s Sierra Troxel, who was sixth, and Kennewick’s Stephanie Buckingham, who was eighth. If all goes as planned, Troxel could meet up with Nora Tan of Mercer Island in the semifinals. Tan finished second in doubles last year with Kelly Crandall. Of note, Mercer Island has won the last three team titles and 11 of the last 14, dating to 1998.
3A girls doubles: Champion Kate Jameson of Bainbridge Island is back, but she has a new partner after Grace Porter graduated. Jameson will try her luck with Jordan Ferguson. Both played singles most of the season, then teamed up for the run to state. It seems to be working. The Southridge team of Sofia Morrison and Sarah Morgan could face the Bainbridge Island duo in the quarterfinals.
4A boys singles: Richland’s Travis Zuroske is between a rock and a hard place. He opens play against Ryan Anderson of Gig Harbor, and a win most likely would put him up against Federal Way sophomore Mitch Stewart, who is 21-0 this season and 46-1 during his short high school career. His only loss -- 6-4, 6-4 to Michael Chamerski of Jackson in last year’s state finals. A match to watch in the first round is Hungarian exchange student Gergo Muller of Stanwood vs. Thomas Jefferson’s Kainoa Rosa, who finished sixth in doubles last year with his brother Makoa, and fifth in 2010.
4A boys doubles: Hunter Wood and John Stormans of Olympia are back to defend their title. Their win last year gave Olympia its first boys doubles title in more than 30 years. Wood is a classical pianist, but don’t let that fool you. His serve has reached 120 mph. With a win in the first round, Richland’s Brett Meyer and Zach Fisher would get a crack at the defending champs.
4A girls singles: Last year’s champion, Elaine Baik of Kamiak is gone, leaving the field wide open. Runner-up Megan LaLone is back, as are Sally Park of Kamiak (fourth), Kylee Tyler-Breimon of Battle Ground (fifth) and Jelena Vidovic of Union (sixth). Also a strong contender is Skyview freshman Sammi Hampton, who won the West Central 4A district title, beating Vidovic 6-0, 6-4.
4A girls doubles: Kentwood’s Tess Manthou was second last year and third the year before. On her third doubles partner in as many years, Manthou will be on the hunt for a title with Maddie Belmondo. Kentridge’s Kyana Esber and Katelyn Overland beat Manthou and Belmondo in the finals of the West Central/Southwest Bi-District tournament. The teams are in opposite sides of the bracket.