Chelan girls tennis team 2nd at state tourney

Abby Martin, Bella Gatzemeier and Emma McLaren take 2nd at state tourney.

Bella Gatzemeier, Abby Martin, Emma McLaren, Tobin Wier and Wyatt Habich along with the Chelan High School Tennis coaching staff.

YAKIMA - The Chelan tennis team took five players to the WIAA 1A/B State Tournament this past weekend, and all five left with hardware!  In addition, the girls team placed 2nd overall behind Seattle Academy (Chelan is "public school state champs"!) and the boys team placed 5th behind Charles Wright Academy, Seattle Academy, University Prep, and local district champion Tonasket.

Here are the paths that each player took this weekend-
Junior Emma McLaren opened the tournament early Friday, May 24 by topping Makilie Hernandez of Zillah 6-2, 6-0.  That win pitted Emma against a rival from the 2018 state tournament: Bailee Wallace of Three Rivers Christian.  Emma avenged a narrow 2018 defeat to Wallace by earning an exciting, hard fought and emotional 7-5, 6-3 victory over Wallace here in 2019, and punching her ticket into the Saturday semifinals.  In the semifinals, Emma gave eventual runner-up Penelope Owen of Seattle Academy all she could handle and played some of the best tennis of her career, but fell short 4-6, 3-6.  The same can be said of Emma's subsequent 3rd place/6th place match-up vs a talented Zoe Rose of Charles Wright Academy.  Nonetheless, it was an outstanding two days of tennis for Emma, finishing in 6th place in girls singles.

Senior Abby Martin and sophomore Bella Gatzemeier got off to a slow start on Friday vs University Prep, but eventually caught fire...coming up a hair short in the 2nd set, and dropping the match 2-6, 6-7.  That loss forced Abby and Bella to win two consecutive matches on Friday to stay in medal contention, and they did just that.  It was a bad day to be a Naches Valley doubles team facing elimination vs Martin and Gatzemeier, as the Chelan duo ended the season for two different Naches Valley teams on Friday in back-to-back pairings:  6-0, 6-4 and then 6-2, 6-4.  On Saturday, May 25 Abby and Bella faced La Salle, and also handled them soundly 6-3, 6-1 to earn a 5th place medal in girls doubles.

There are very few teams that send multiple entries to the state tournament, and even fewer that earn multiple medals, so Chelan's 6th place and 5th place girls finishes were enough to earn our girls 2nd place in the team rankings. 

That 2nd place finish is the second self-proclaimed "public school state champs" title for Chelan in the past three years (the Chelan boys placed 2nd behind University Prep in 2017).

Speaking of the boys team, due to their #3 and #4 seed rankings entering the tournament, senior Wyatt Habich and junior Tobin Wier faced very tough #1 seeds from other districts in the opening round on Friday.

Wyatt opened by facing 2018 singles tourney runner-up Andy Simmerman of Freeman, and played well, but lost 3-6, 1-6.  Like our girls doubles team, that forced Wyatt to win two straight matches on Friday to earn a medal.  In his second match of the day, Habich picked off Jesus Vazquez of Royal 6-3, 6-2.  In his 3rd match on Friday, Wyatt earned revenge for a district tourney semifinal loss by defeating rival Kane Andruss of Cashmere 7-5, 6-2.  That win earned Wyatt a trip to the medal round.

In the meantime, teammate Tobin also faced a tough opening draw, falling to eventual 2019 state champion Raghav Agrawal of Charles Wright.  By now you understand the gravity of an opening round loss:  fight through the consolation bracket by winning two before losing two.  In match #2, Tobin dispatched of Fernando Godoy of Zillah 6-0, 6-3.  In do-or-die match #3, Tobin used two impressive momentum shifts to get past Cameron Whittle of Newport. First, Wier overcame a 1-4 deficit in a first set tiebreaker to win that breaker 7-5.  Then, in the 2nd set tied 2-2 but down 0-40 in the 5th game,  Tobin rattled off 5 straight points, and then won the next three games to win the match 7-6, 6-2.

Those four Chelan boys singles wins meant that Tobin and Wyatt would face each other on Saturday for a rare Chelan vs Chelan match-up to determine 5th and 8th place (possibly the first Chelan vs Chelan match-up at the state tournament in school history?). 

In set #1, Wier opened up strong and won the decisively 6-2.  The middle set was dead even, with Habich eventually winning a tiebreaker.  The final set was won by veteran Habich 6-2.  So, Wyatt finished 5th and Tobin finished 8th in boys singles.

Similar to the girls team, those two placings earned Chelan high honors for the tournament, finishing 5th overall and just one slot out of a team trophy.

It was truly an exciting and memorable tournament for the Goats.  Much thanks to the assistant coaches that were busy all day long due to such a great showing from our players:  Jordan Lehman, Alan Grossberg and Leslie Blair.  Thank you to the parents for helping make it such a smooth, fun and memorable trip.

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