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WEB SPECIAL: Valiants step up at state tennis

Lomartire gets back to state championship match
by: Miles Vance, ON THE BALL — Valley Catholic's Kaitlyn Lomartire (shown here at the 2011 state tournament) played her way to a runner-up finish at state this year.

EUGENE - One day, one match, one player at a time, Valley Catholic showed that it belonged at the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tennis tournament.

The Valiants sent just one singles player to state in girls play and one more in boys singles play, but those two players - Kaitlyn Lomartire and Conor Picken - made their presences felt in a big way.

Lomartire, the 2010 state champion, played her way back to the top of the state, battling all the way to the state title contest before finally finishing second. Her efforts gave Valley Catholic a total of four points and placed them in a third-place tie with St. Mary's Vale, Blanchet Catholic, Catlin Gabel and Cascade. Oregon Episcopal won the team title with 10.5 points.

The tournament was held May 17-19 at the University of Oregon.

Lomartire opened her tournament by beating Ashley Bacon of La Salle, 6-1, 6-0, rolled past Elsa Harris of Crook County 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals, then dropped Malvika Ramesh of Blanchet Catholic 6-2, 6-3 in her semi to earn a championship berth.

There, despite a fast start, OES' Rachael Nedrow was just too much, fighting back from a 6-4 first-set loss to beat Lomartire 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Picken was nearly as good in the boys tournament, playing his way all the way to the tournament semifinals and eventually finishing fourth to give VC a tie for fourth in the team standings with four points. OES won the team title at 12.5 points, followed by Catlin Gabel at 8, La Salle at 4.5, and VC, Baker, North Bend and Phoenix all at 4.Picken got things started with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Paul Fullhart of Sisters in the pigtail round, beat Scot Stroud of Sherman 6-1, 6-1 in the first round, then outlasted Dennis Reutov of Cascade 6-4, 6-4 in his quarterfinal.

Picken wouldn't win again, though, falling to Wil Cochrane of Phoenix - the eventual champion - 6-0, 6-0 in his semi, then dropping a 6-2, 6-1 decision to Matt Sipowicz of Oregon Episcopal in the fourth-place match.