Jesuit, Sunset battle OES in team tennis championship at Tualatin Hills
BEAVERTON - The Jesuit-Metro-State Team Tennis Championship may not have definitively answered the question of who is the best boys team in the state, but it took a pretty fair shot at it.
Players from Jesuit and Oregon Episcopal School won every one of the tournament's eight brackets - the Aardvarks winning five and the Crusaders three - but Jesuit's depth proved the difference. The Crusaders sent players or teams into seven of the eight finals and finished third in the other to end with 59 points while OES took second at 56½. Sunset's boys also participated in the tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, finishing third overall with 35 points.
'You can throw out the levels when it comes to OES,' Jesuit coach Jeff Wood said in reference to the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A Aardvarks. 'They're one of the best teams in the state, and we knew that we needed to look in the 5A and 4A levels to find some of the best teams.'
The Aardvarks certainly did their best to prove Wood's confidence in them, taking top honors in the first, second and third singles brackets, and also
winning the first and second doubles draws. Along the way, they also beat Jesuit individuals or teams in five of those finals.
Foremost among those was the first singles battle between Jesuit senior Spencer Moore, the reigning Metro League champ, and OES senior Brandon Wei, the 4A/3A/2A/1A runner-up a year ago. Moore, who took out West Linn's Chris Erbin and Glencoe's Micah Leo in straight sets to reach the championship, also took the first set against Wei 6-4.
But Wei responded with a 6-4 win in the second set, then followed up with another 6-4 win in the third set to win and avenge a loss to Moore in their most recent match.
'It was another one of their epic battles,' Wood said. 'The serve-and-volleyer (Moore) against the baseliner (Wei).'
Sunset's No. 1, senior Chris Seibel, lost to Wei 6-3, 6-1 in his opening round match, beat Forest Grove's Brett Baumgartner 8-3 in consolation, then fell to Erbin 7-6 (0), 6-1 in the fourth-place match.
Second singles followed a similar pattern, with Jesuit senior Michael Freeman battling his way into the final, then losing there to OES senior Dylan Page 6-3, 6-3. Freeman took out Glencoe's Kenneth Quin 6-0, 6-2 in round one and outlasted West Linn's Miles Rifkin 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 before falling to Page in the finale. In his win over Rifkin, Freeman fought off four match points in the sec-
ond set before coming back to win.
Sunset's Jeff Yeom lost his opening match at second singles to Lincoln's Mark Kincaid, then won twice to finish fourth. He beat Forest Grove's Jordan Miller 9-7 in consolation, then knocked out Grant's Sean Carruthers 6-2, 6-3 to grab fourth.
Third singles featured yet another Jesuit vs. OES title match, this one a 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-2 win by Aardvark Varun Lyengar over Jesuit's Roshen Warrier. Sunset's Mike Furuya, win his opener, fell to Lyengar 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the semifinal, then beat West Linn's Sam Tingley 6-0, 6-4 to secure third place.
Jesuit's lone singles title came at No. 4, where Peder Gram won a three-setter over OES' Marc Leef in round one, swept past Lincoln's Quincy Chong in round two and outlasted Sunset's Alex Belmonte 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final.
'He was clutch' in the first round, Wood said of Gram.
Belmonte shut out Glencoe's Casey Sumner in round one, then hammered Grant's Peter Grein 6-1, 6-1 in his semi.
The Crusaders and Aardvarks split the four doubles brackets, with OES' Jason Stack and Ryan Nedrow champions at No. 1, OES' Trevor Apple and Alex Tallian winners at No. 2, Jesuit's Winston Neville and Sam Stephenson taking top honors at No. 3, and Crusaders Jeremy McCarroll and Edwin Janes victorious at No. 4.
Wood described Neville and Stephenson as 'super solid all weekend long' and added that Janes - a senior playing in his first Jesuit tournament - nailed four straight first serves in his team's final victory.
Jesuit's other two doubles teams were tough too, with Thomas Dols and Vineet Mehndiratta second at first doubles, and Brenden Gibbons and Gram Leahy third at No. 2.
Sunset doubles highlights included Tim Neal and Eric Furuya taking third in the first doubles draw, Elliot Neal and Naveen Nanja grabbing second at No. 2, Evan Liu and Caleb Lu placing second at No. 3, and William Wang and Andrew Tai finishing second at fourth doubles.