The Saxons completed their regular season at the GVC Tennis Tournament on Saturday, hosted on our home courts at Salem Tennis and Swim Club. Sunny skies prevailed and watched over an exciting finish to the season for several Saxon players. While the team was not in the running to place in the tournament, all of the boys competed with heart and class.
On the singles side, our number one player and third seed in the tournament Breaden Brooks continued his outstanding performance this year. With easy early-round victories over players from McKay, McNary, and McMinnville, he faced the number two seed from Sprague, Sebastien Hammond. This was a much-anticipated match up, and a replay of the tournament final last year. In a fine display of solid play and excellent focus, Brooks outplayed his opponent and ran away with a 6-1, 6-1 victory. This booked him a match up with the top player in the GVC, Jusdon Blair, a State semifinalist last year. Blair was not to stopped, and continued his dominance this season with a 6-2, 6-0 victory. Brooks will finish his season at the OSAA 6A State Tournament at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center beginning on Thursday where he faces Ryan Nakajima, a senior from Southridge, in the first round.
Tommy Andersen represented the Saxons at the number two position. Tommy found himself in the unfortunate position of facing off against the number two from West Salem, Kenny Harrington. Harrington had won their regular season match just the week prior. After dropping the first set 6-2, Andersen fought to an early lead in the second with some excellent shot-making and strong serving. Harrington won out in the end, however, claiming the second set 7-5.
Number three for the Saxons at the tournament was Conner Towery. He faced Alfredo Villareal from McNary in a first round pigtail match and was defeated by a score of 6-1, 6-3. Towery entered the consolation bracket where he battled against the number two player from Forest Grove, Graeson Dougan-Fleming. Villareal, who defeated Towery in the first round would go on to win the consolation bracket.
Rees Jones had a great run at the tournament, battling through to the semifinals of consolation after a first round loss to Jordan Groat, the number three player for West Salem. Jones had wins over players from North Salem, West Albany, and McNary. His fine run in consolation draw ended when he ran up against Alfredo Villareal from McNary, the eventual consolation winner who also defeated South Salem’s Conner Towery.
On the doubles side of the tournament, the Saxons were led by Lan Le and Pranav Ramesh. The Saxons often find that they are stretched thin come tournament season, because so many of our student-athletes are also competing in other activities such as band choir, and orchestra. This was the case for Le again this year, with his tennis match sandwiched between two performances in the State Orchestra Competition. Le/Ramesh teamed up for an upset of the tournament number six seeds Kyle Rouzaud and Tanner Madsen from West Albany. Le/Ramesh dropped the first set 5-7, but showed great heart and battled back to win the next two sets 6-2, 6-4. When the match was over, Le jumped in his car and hurried back to Corvallis where he helped the Saxons win the state competition! The next ran into the number three team from McMinnville, falling 6-4, 6-1 to Gullo/Gardner.
Ethan Nguyen and Josh Nishimora represented the Saxons at the number two slot and had a very good run in the consolation bracket after falling in the first round to Pollak/Dong of McMinnville in a three-set battle, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. Following two wins against teams from McKay and Forest Grove, they were eventually defeated 8-3 by the second-place consolation team of Rouzaud/Madsen from West Albany.
The Saxons three and four doubles teams were Toby Otto with Ben Byler and Max Bauer with Jonah Davison. Both teams suffered first-round losses; Otto/Byler falling 6-2, 6-3 to Cole/Knight from Sprague; and Bauer/Davison falling 6-1, 6-1 to Ihde/Sorte of West Albany. Both teams went on to fight through the consolation bracket, with Bauer/Davison recording two victories over teams from North Salem and Forest Grove, eventually falling to the West Salem team of Cagle/Feagles-Jones 8-1. Otto/Byler fell 8-1 to the West Albany team of Carlson/Carlson.
Overall, the Saxons represented themselves very well and have much to be proud of for such a young team. With only one senior (Le) and three juniors (Andersen, Nguyen, and Towery), we have a lot to look forward to next season.