Reynolds senior grabs girls tennis title
Wilson junior Momei Qu had experienced finishing second before, and losing in the girls tennis state final this season was a little more tolerable than last year.
'It's not like I was winning and then everything turned around and I lost, like last year,' Qu says. 'This match was very competitive, and it just didn't go my way.'
Reynolds senior Emily Kir-chem scored a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory over Qu in Saturday's singles championship match, leaving the top-seeded Qu as the second-place finisher for the second year.
Kirchem kept the ball in play, hit winning shots at key times and won the big game of the match, the tiebreaker in the first set.
'Momei was the favorite,' says Kirchem, a four-time district champion, 'so I'm very excited to be the state champion, especially because it's my senior year.'
Westview senior Brett Joelson won the boys singles title, beating Grant sophomore Tommy Hicks 6-1, 6-0 in the final.
Jesuit, led by Ric Mortera's trip to the semifinals, tied for second in the boys team standings.
Qu had a 6-4, 4-0 lead in last year's state final before losing to Cleveland's Cristin Sammis, who won 12 of the final 13 games.
Against Kirchem, Qu played the role Sammis took last year, hitting aggressive shots to force the completion of games. It didn't work, though. In the first set, Qu had 34 unforced errors to just 19 for Kirchem, who kept popping the ball mostly into the middle of the court. Qu did have a 21-9 edge in winners.
'My plan was not to hit the ball too hard and work into the match,' Kirchem says. 'If you try to hit too hard, you can hit a lot of balls out.'
Qu says her experience against Kirchem taught her to be aggressive.
'If we just hit the ball back and forth, I knew she would win,' Qu says. 'I'm an aggressive player, but she brings a little more of that out in me.'
In the second set, Qu had 26 unforced errors to just 11 for Kirchem, who trailed in winners only 10-7.
Qu says she'll take a week off before focusing on summer tournaments and her senior season.
'I'm definitely going to be very motivated to win next year,' she says. 'I want to win at least one year.'
Hicks reached the final for the first time and had some hope of winning. But he had cramped up significantly at the close of his three-set semifinal win over Beaverton's Charn Bak and was facing the state's dominant player in Joelson in the final.
'He's a very good player,' Hicks says. 'He was just much better than me.'
Reaching the final is likely to make Hicks the favorite to win next season. He entered the tournament seeded fourth Ñ but with a finals mind-set.
'I work hard and play well, so I just took each match as it came along,' Hicks says. 'Someone had to make the final, so why shouldn't it have been me?'
Hicks, a two-time PIL champion, says he will focus on improving his serve as he works toward his junior season. He plans to play in the Rose Festival tournament this weekend at his home court, the Irvington Tennis Center.
PIL BANQUET: The district's third annual banquet is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Multnomah Athletic Club. The inductees to the PIL Hall of Fame are George Emigh, a former football coach at Franklin; Bill Franzke, Madison track and field; Ralph Harper, Benson football and Marshall athletics; Roy Love, a baseball coach who became athletic director at Portland State University; and Mary Officer, Madison track and field athlete. Tickets are still available for $20. Call 503-916-3223 for more information.
NOTES: Lincoln looks to be headed for better days in volleyball, thanks to junior Katie Pluchos and sophomore Jean Rho, who are playing for top teams in the Northwest Juniors club program. The NW Juniors elite 18-and-under team, filled with players from Gresham and Barlow High, were seeded fifth in a major national tournament in suburban Chicago this past weekend.