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The Sandy boys' and girls' tennis squads each look to qualify four players for state

The regular season treated the Sandy boys’ and girls’ tennis teams well, but now the real work begins. Both Pioneer squads enter this week’s Northwest Oregon Conference district meet with high expectations.

“I think we have an outside chance at getting four players to state,” Sandy boys’ tennis coach Chris Meyers said. “I think our best chance, because of the way he is playing right now, is Tucker Idler. His game has really come a long way this year and if he can avoid making too many mistakes, I believe he has a real chance.”

Idler could be counted on all season to turn in a complete effort in every match, and he came away with several victories as a result. The favorite to win the singles championship is Milwaukie’s Jacob Cates who was dominant in the regular season. Defeating Cates will be a tall task for Idler and the rest of the field, but Sandy’s No. 1 can still secure a top-four finish to qualify for the state championships.

The Pioneers could get a second singles player to state in Sebastian Galvin. Galvin has been out for a few weeks, so he might have to shake off some rust early in the tournament. However, he made it through to state last year and knows what it takes to get there.

In the doubles bracket, Sandy’s top duo of Jerytt Liatty and Nash Idler could surprise some people in the quest to clinch a spot at state.

“They are the fourth or fifth best doubles team in the league,” Meyers said. “They will not have an easy draw and are more than likely going to have to beat one or two good teams to get there, but they are capable.”

Getting four players to state might seem like a longshot, but with Galvin, Liatty and the Idler brothers, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

“I feel pretty good about these guys, now they just have to go out and play the way they are capable of playing,” Meyers said.

The Sandy girls also have four players who are legitimate threats to qualify for the state tournament. In the singles pool, Hailey Fischer and Christan Schlaht will headline a handful of Pioneers in the field. Last year, Fischer and Schlaht both claimed top-four finishes at the district meet to secure their slots in the state tournament. It was the first time in program history that two singles players made it to state in the same year.

The road back to state won’t be smooth. This year’s district championship bracket is loaded and incredibly balanced. Fischer is likely to go in as the No. 2 seed, but she will still have to perform well to work her way into the top four. Schlaht is in position to earn a fourth seed, which means her journey through the tournament shapes up to be rockier than Fischer’s.

“Christan will have a harder time getting to state as most people load up the fourth-seeds bracket with the players they think actually have a chance,” Sandy girls’ coach Greg Thorson said. “It is usually three tough matches.”

The Pioneers have an excellent opportunity to get their No. 1 doubles pair to state. Emmy Thatcher and Sawyer Kurtz have been solid all season and should go into districts with a top-three seed.

“I expect them also to make it to state,” Thorson said. “As for our other girls, we have people in both singles and doubles who would have a definite chance to win the consolation bracket.”

The first three rounds of the girls’ tournament are set for Thursday at the Portland Tennis Center, with matches beginning at 9:00 a.m. The opening three rounds on the boys’ side are slotted to start at 9:00 a.m. on Friday. The final two rounds for the girls and boys will get under way at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.

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