VC boys second at state

Quandt and Picken take second in doubles, and Lomartire places third
by: Miles Vance HERE IT COMES — Valley Catholic's Adam Quandt rips a return during his quarterfinal match with partner Connor Picken at the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tennis tournament at University of Oregon on Friday.

EUGENE - Two weeks made all the difference in the world for Valley Catholic's Adam Quandt and Connor Picken.

Quandt and Picken, Valley Catholic's top boys tennis doubles team, finished just fourth in the District 1 tournament and squeaked into the state tournament field.

But 14 days later, Quandt and Picken proved that they belonged, battling all the way to a runner-up finish in the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tournament, held Friday and Saturday at the University of Oregon.

'I was very pleased with the way they played and handled themselves on the court,' said Valley Catholic coach Michael Kilbury. 'Both guys were very level headed and played more consistently during the tournament than they did during the season.'

Their efforts helped Valley Catholic tie for third in the team standings with Phoenix at six points, trailing only La Salle's 18 and Catlin Gabel's seven.

Quandt and Picken opened the tournament with a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Crook County's Brady Slater and Jared Anderson, drilled Colby Gilmore and Austin Williams of Sisters 6-2, 6-1 in the first round, then knocked off nemeses Will Caplan and Reed Goodman of Catlin Gabel - the tournament's top seeds - 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.

'We matched up well against Catlin Gabel's number one doubles team during the regular season, and we were not intimidated when we faced them in the quarterfinals in Eugene,' Kilbury said.

Quandt and Picken kept rolling in the semifinals too, sweeping past Sawyer Dady and Jeff Carroll of North Marion 6-2, 6-2 to earn their berth in the championship.

But second-seeded Maximillian Hey and Xander Hey of La Salle held the upper hand in the finale, working past Quandt and Picken 6-3, 6-4 to win the tournament title.

'I knew that we had a chance to do well,' Kilbury said. 'We served extremely well and returned well enough to get into the point and get the breaks when we needed them.'

In singles play, Luis Pineda of La Salle won the tournament title by beating Will Cochrane of Phoenix 6-1, 6-3.

Girls Tournament

Valley's girls were strong at state too, with singles players Kaitlyn Lomartire and Tori Kemper taking their team to sixth place with 5.5 points. Crook County raced away with the team title at 14.5 points while Oregon Episcopal took second at 13.

Lomartire, who won the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state singles title a year ago, came back to place third this season, while Kemper played her way into the consolation semifinals before losing.

'Kaitlyn Lomartire and Tori Kemper worked so hard to get to this tournament, and their hard work definitely showed on the court,' said Valley Catholic coach Laura DeSantis. 'All the conditioning and drills Coach Unger and I put them through prepared them for the long, tough matches' at state.

Lomartire opened her title defense with a 7-6 (0), 6-1 win over Kylee Woodman of North Bend, then dropped Malvika Ramesh of Blanchet Catholic 7-5, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

Top-seeded Rachael Nedrow of Oregon Episcopal stopped Lomartire's run in the semifinals, though, winning 6-1, 6-3, and later beating Kate Rubinstein of Catlin Gabel 6-4, 6-3 to take the tournament championship.

Undaunted, Lomartire came back to win the third-place match, beating Maggie Schein of St. Mary's in a tough three-setter 4-6, 6-4, 2-3 (ret.).

Kemper won her opener in the Pigtail Round 6-0, 6-1 over Umatilla's Naomi Castonnon, then fell to Crook County's Barbara Furuie 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 in the first round. But Kemper came back to beat Tori Van of La Salle in consolation play before finally losing to Courtney Petry of Baker.

'Their consistency and competitive nature is a huge factor to their success,' DeSantis said. 'They are both very athletic and have the physical and mental strength to take on any challenge and to keep them going strong 'til the end. I always told the team to 'be fierce,' and these two lived up to that perfectly.'

In doubles play, Catie Brown and Kayla Morgan of Crook County beat Amy Delong and Brooke Hawkins of Vale 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 to win the tournament title.