Cowboys challenge Ravens


Crook County wins three of four contested matches in loss to Ridgeview

It still goes down in the record books as a loss, but the Crook County High School boys’ tennis squad can be proud of their performance on Tuesday.

Playing without senior Brick Woodward and foreign exchange student Leandre Nicolai, the Cowboys still pushed Ridgeview to the limits before finally falling to the visiting Ravens.

“I’m very happy with today,” said Crook County Coach Aaron Raasch. “We’ve lost to them twice in the past and they are a very strong team. To be able to compete well today was really encouraging for districts.”by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Pedro de Souza hustles to play a ball during his No. 1 singles match Tuesday afternoon against Ridgeview. de Souza lost his first set to T.J. Smith of Ridgeview, but came back to win the match 3-6, 6-2, 10-8.

The Cowboys had lost badly to the Ravens on Friday during the Central Oregon Duals Tennis Tournament. The lone CCHS winner in that match was No. 3 singles player Garrett Harper. Tuesday was very different. The Cowboys were in the match to the very end.

Crook County No. 1 singles player Pedro de Souza fell behind early, but came back to upset highly favored T.J. Smith of Ridgeview. Smith, who had easily won the only previous meeting between the two players, won the first set of the match 6-3. de Souza rallied to take the second set 6-2, then won a third set tiebreaker 10-8 to pull off the upset.

Cowboy No. 2 singles player Jack Stubblefield won an equally close match. Stubblefield took a 7-6 (8-6) win in the first set of his match with Brett Blundell. Blundell rallied to take the second set 6-1 setting up a third set tiebreaker which Stubblefield won 10-7.

With Woodward and Nicolai gone, the Cowboys had to shuffle the remainder of their lineup.

Garrett Harper played doubles for the first time all year as he teamed with Leonhard Pusl to take a 6-4, 6-1 win over Ridgeview’s Caleb Maxwell and Gabe Payne.

“I was really impressed with Pusl and Harper today,” Raasch said. “To play together for the first time and be so competitive was really good.”by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Jack Stubblefield plays a forehand winner in his No. 2 singles match against the Ravens. Stubblefield won his match against Brett Blundell 7-6, (8-6), 1-6, 10-7.

Ridgeview finally won a match when Chase Bennett and Brandon Huff earned a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Crook County’s Cayden Quinn and Hayden Boyd in No. 2 doubles.

Without their full team the Cowboys were forced to forfeit the remaining four matches, giving the Ravens the win.

Crook County played their final match before district against Summit on Thursday. The team travels to Ontario to play in the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 5 championships.

Play starts Monday at 10 a.m. and Tuesday at 11 a.m. with the top four singles players and top four doubles teams all qualifying for the state championships, which will be held Memorial Day weekend in Corvallis.

“I really do feel like we have a good possibility of getting someone to state this year,” Raasch said. “I think being able to work hard and getting the kids to come out and do long practices every day has been really good for our team.”