John Lindsay and Lexi York capture state singles titles in high school racquetball

by: JOHN DENNY - East Side Athletic Club racquetballers John Lindsay and Lexi York pose proudly with their first-place medals from the 2012 Oregon High School Racquetball Championships.East Side Athletic Club had the top individual performers at the 2013 Oregon High School Racquetball State Championship Tournament, held at Multnomah and Lloyd athletic clubs Jan. 23-27.

Oregon City High School senior John Lindsay and La Salle Prep sophomore Lexi York both won state titles in No. 1 gold singles.

Lindsay defeated Connor Laffey of Sprague, 15-13, 15-9, in the boys final, after advancing through wins over Ryan Swinhart of Tualatin (15-0, 15-3), Sandy senior Cody Welty (15-7, 15-5) and Salem Academy senior Joshua Lebow (15-10, 15-4).

York defeated Southridge senior Ariana Guilak 15-9, 15-13, in the girls final, after advancing through wins over Rachel Hansen of Sandy (15-1, 15-1) and over Grandview Christian Academy senior Hollee Hungerford (14-15, 15-0, 11-10).

“I changed up my serves,” York said of her hotly contested semifinal match with Hungerford. “In the second game, I changed the pace with softer serves.... Hollee came back really strong in the tiebreaker. It was pretty much who got the best serves.”

Lindsay and York were both USA Racquetball national high school champions last year.

York made Junior Racquetball history last year when she became the first female in the then 26-year history of the national high school tournament to win a national singles title. She also won the 2012 state singles title.

This is the first state singles title for Lindsay, who placed third last year, after losing to Laffey in the semifinals.

“It’s kind of fitting,” Lindsay said. “You win nationals, you might as well come back and win state too....

“It’s especially nice since it was my last chance to win state, and it was Connor [Laffey] who I beat in the finals. He beat me at state last year.”

“This gives me more motivation to work hard and try to win [a state championship] every year [in high school],” York said. “When I won it last year, I was the first freshmen girl to win state.”

Lindsay says he will not attempt to defend his national high school championship, and York says she may also forgo high school nationals this year.

“This year’s [high school] nationals are in St. Louis, Missouri, so I’m not going,” Lindsay said. “I’d rather save my plane ticket and go to Junior Nationals. You win Junior Nationals and you get on the U.S. Team, and you get to go to Worlds.”

Lindsay competed at the Junior World Championships in the Dominican Republic in 2011. York has advanced to the Junior World Championships in each of the past three seasons, going twice to Worlds in Los Angeles (2010 and 2012), and to the Dominican Republic (2011). This year’s World Championships will be held in Bolivia in December.

York says that unless she can get a bye until Friday, March 1, of this year’s National High School Championships, she will not make the trip.

“I’d miss too much school,” she said.

The national high school tournament runs Feb. 25 through March 3.

Besides winning this year’s high school boys singles title, Lindsay teamed up with Oregon City senior Brenden Oliver to earn second place in boys doubles at this year’s state competition. Laffey and a teammate from Sprague beat Lindsay and Oliver in the doubles final, 15-9, 15-6.

Lindsay and York aren’t the first East Side Athletic Club athletes to win state high school singles titles in racquetball.

Taylor Knoth (La Salle) of East Side was the first athlete to win four singles titles (2006 through 2009). Amanda Lindsay of Oregon City won first place in girls singles three consecutive years, 2008-2010. Dan Sheppick of Rex Putnam was boys singles champion in 2002 and 2003.

Beaverton won this year’s boys team championship, beating Sprague 2,665.5 to 2,397; Southridge topped Beaverton for the girls team title, 2,659 to 2,249.5.

Oregon City boys (1,260 points) placed fifth, finishing back of Beaverton, Sprague, Sunset and Lincoln, in that order.

La Salle girls (550 points) placed eighth.

“I’m very proud of my team,” said Oregon City coach Susan Griffith. “We placed sixth overall as a team (combined boys and girls scoring).”

Among other Oregon City athletes earning placement points at this year’s state championships were: seniors Jeff Butrico, Ethan Kemeny and Rachael Ryner; juniors Alex Sitton, Alycia Leagjeld and Victoria Bleszinski; sophomore R.J. Wilks; and freshmen Michael Beebe and Emily Sitton.

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