by: Vern Uyetake, 
Lakeridge’s Felix Poch returns a shot at the district tournament. He and partner Ben Shipley advanced to next week’s state tournament.

The top four seeds in both the singles and doubles brackets advanced to state at the boys district tennis tournament and that was good news for Lake Oswego and Lakeridge.

The Lakers and Pacers each advanced a doubles team through to the next round of competition while two Lakeridge singles players and one Laker will also be playing at Tualatin Hills Recreation Center.

In singles, the story was Clackamas' Zhenya Pereverzin who didn't drop a game in the entire tournament en route to a second straight district title.

Lakeridge's Don Bagwell came closest to breaking through, taking a 40-0 lead early in the championship match. Bagwell finished second overall, recording straight sets victories in each match leading up to the finals.

He endured a pair of tough matches in the opening two rounds before hitting his stride to earn a spot in the state tournament for the second year in a row.

In the semifinals, Bagwell took on teammate Brian Hughes, who was solid in his first three matches. In the quarterfinals, Hughes dispatched the tournament's No. 6 seed from West Linn 6-1, 6-1.

Hughes would go on to finish third in the tournament.

The No. 4 seed in singles belonged to Lake Oswego's Paul Beard. Beard racked up three consecutive straight sets victories to qualify for state before falling to Pereverzin in the semifinals.

The Laker didn't have to face a seeded opponent before the semifinals because Lakeridge's Bret Northfield had a terrific match in the semifinals against the tournament's No. 5 seed from Clackamas.

Northfield lost the first set but won a second-set tiebreaker and used that momentum to take the third set 6-3.

Also making it to the quarterfinals was Lakeridge's Ben Brewer and Lake Oswego's Craig Deininger.

In doubles Lake Oswego's Bobby Thurston and Trevor Chase made good use of their No. 2 seed. They only dropped four total games in their first four matches to qualify for the semifinals and earn a trip to state.

Thurston and Chase then won their semifinal match and gave West Linn's Chris Erbin and Miles Rifkin a battle in the finals before falling in straight sets.

Lakeridge's team of Ben Shipley and Felix Poch had the No. 3 seed in the tournament and endured a tough road to the semifinals.

Shipley and Poch cruised in the opening round before winning a close three-set battle in round two. Then, the Pacer pair endured another three-set battle in the quarterfinals against the No. 6 seed, Lake Oswego's Evan Nyland and Charles Goldner.

Shipley and Poch won 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 and finished fourth in the tournament.

The tournament was a terrific capper to strong seasons from both teams and the Laker and Pacer contingents who qualified for state will begin play next week.

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