St. Helens' Martinson and Bradford reach district semis, win state berth
There are no easy days, no easy matches and no easy points in Northwest Oregon Conference tennis.
But St. Helens seniors Jared Bradford and Cole Martinson didn't care.
The Lions doubles team, the top-seeded team in the NWOC district tournament — held Monday through Wednesday at Parkrose High School — won three straight times to reach the tournament semifinals, and in the process, secure a berth to the Class 5A state tournament. That tournament is set for May 17-19 at the Babette Horenstein Tennis Center (formerly Tualatin Hills) in Beaverton.
Bradford and Martinson opened their tournament with a tougher than expected 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 win over Wilsonville's Dean and Wilde, but then got on the right track and followed with two solid straight-set victories.
First, they knocked off Rex Putnam's Rivera and M. Harvey 6-1, 6-0, and after that, they beat La Salle's John Arp and Noah Blaser 6-2, 6-0. But then, facing La Salle's Kyle Schraner and Tony Le, Martinson and Bradford finally fell short, dropping a 6-2, 7-6 decision in the tournament semifinals.
In their ensuing third-place match, Bradford and Martinson lost 6-3, 7-5 to Wilsonville's Zach Brehm and Nathan Ogden.
Also in doubles, Tanner Ward and Ryan Edwards lost their district opener, then won five straight in consolation play before falling to Dean and Wilde in the consolation championship.
In the girls district tournament, St. Helens' C.J. Wyland won her first singles match — a 7-5 6-1 decision over Parkrose's Angela Nguyen — then fell 6-0, 6-1 to top-seeded Sidney Lowry of Wilsonville in round two.
In doubles play, three Lions teams won their first-round matches before being eliminated — the teams of Quin Coddington and Sierra Gadbois, Gabrielle Duggan and Lydia Rose, and Kaycee Leanna and Kristen Washburn.
"This was an excellent showing for the Lady Lions, said St. Helens coach Dave Geiger.
Coddington and Gadbois were tied 3-3 in their first set against top-seeded Camille and Kara Rule of Wilsonville, then led 3-0 in the second set before falling 6-3, 6-3.
"They didn't play their best match, but competed well enough to show the coaches their style and grit," Geiger said.
Likewise, Duggan and Rose provided some unexpected but pleasant surprises with their play.
They defeated Sweetland/Byun of Wilsonville 7-6 (0), 6-2 in a pigtail match, then upset fourth-seeded Bender/ O'Halloran of Rex Putnam 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 before losing in the round of 16.
"The surprise of the tournament was (Duggan and Rose)," Geiger said of his first-year players. "They are athletic, extremely analytical and are very coachable."