The Tri-City Invite started out as a small, eight-team event in 1980. Now in it’s 34th year, the Invite will host 16 teams from the Mid-Columbia, Spokane, Idaho and Oregon.
“Jeff Dong (former Pasco coach) and I started this many years ago,” said Kamiakin coach George Carlson. “He was a big promoter of this. He did all the paper work and got donations to help pay for our medals. We lost Jeff a little while ago, now yours truly gets to do all of that.”
But Carlson, 74, wouldn’t have it any other way.
The two-day event will use courts at all seven Tri-City public high schools. The boys No. 1 and No. 2 singles will play at Kamiakin, while the No. 3 and No. 4 singles will be at Chiawana.
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The girls No. 1 and No. 2 singles are at Southridge, with the No. 3 and No. 4 singles at Hanford.
Kennewick will host the boys doubles, while the girls doubles will be at Pasco. The mixed doubles matches will be played at Richland.
“We will have 320 players from 16 schools,” Carlson said. “We are fortunate to have so many courts.”
Play begins at 3 p.m. today with one round of play. Action resumes at 8 a.m. Saturday, with the finals scheduled for around 2 p.m. at each site.
All eight Mid-Columbia Conference schools will participate this weekend, as will Mead and University from Spokane, Wenatchee, Hermiston and Capital and Parma from Idaho. It is the first appearance at the event for Parma.
Wenatchee won the team title last year with 202 points, with Mead second (187). Richland, which earned three individual championships, was third (165).
Kamiakin’s Ben Welch and Matt Inman will play No. 1 doubles, coming off a win at the Lewiston Invite on March 22.
Richland will have Zach Fisher in No. 1 singles, Trent Prussing and Callum Pe in No. 1 doubles, and Anna Lipton in No. 1 singles.
In mixed doubles, the Bombers will have the teams of Mariah Tartakovsky and Colton Sowers (No. 1) and Nathan Sargent and Riley Dewitt (No. 2).
Kennewick’s Stephanie Buckingham, who lost in the finals at the Lewiston Invite two weeks ago, will play No. 1 singles.
At No. 2, Kennewick will have Zoey Garcia, while Natilee Sanders will play at No. 3.
The Lions’ top boys singles player, Chad McKenzie, who won the Lewiston Invite, will play No. 1 singles, while Jared Bolt will play at No. 2. Mitchell Way, who won the Lewiston Invite at No. 3 singles, will hope to do the same this weekend.