HERMISTON - Both Pendleton and Hermiston will be represented at the 2004 4A State Tennis Championships held at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center Thursday through Saturday and the Hermiston doubles team of Rebecca Berger and Rachel Berger have a good chance to win it.
"Anything can happen in doubles, but (Rachel and Rebecca) are as good, if not better, than any other team in the tournament," Hermiston girls coach Geoff Bullis said.
The Bergers won the Intermountain Conference district tournament this past weekend and are seeded No. 5 for the state tournament. It doesn't surprise Rachel Berger that they weren't seeded higher.
"They probably should have been seeded No. 4," Bullis said. "But the other seeded teams have more experience at doubles."
The Bergers will play the McMinnville team of Hannah Mitchell and Leilani Jackson in the first round match on Friday.
"Rachel and Rebecca got a great draw," Hermiston assistant coach Curt Berger said. "We want to see Jesuit early. If Rachel and Rebecca can get by the Jesuit team, they should be ok."
Pendleton girls coach Dick Beamer agreed that the Bergers have a good chance to win the championship but added that he hadn't seen the Jesuit team play.
Junior Rachel Berger is no stranger to the state championship tournament. As a freshman, Rachel played singles and lost in the second round. As a sophomore, Rachel made it to the singles quarterfinals before she lost to the eventual champion.
"It just depends how we play, how we handle the pressure. It'll be bigger crowds and I don't know how my sister will be able to handle it. But she should be fine," Rachel Berger said.
"The district (tournament) was basically the same as a dual match," freshman Rebecca Berger said. "I didn't feel any extra pressure. If we play our best, we should do well."
Hermiston's Andrea Wicks and Rene Swoboda also made it to the state tournament after placing third in the district championship. They are unseeded in the state tournament and Bullis said the pair didn't get a very good draw.
"Andrea has really worked hard and improved a lot," he said. "Andrea and Rene should win their first match but their second round is against the team (of Kaylee Thomas and Naime Conrad from Bend) that beat them in districts this year. I think they can play with (Thomas and Conrad), but they did get beat badly. (Thomas and Conrad) stepped up and played really well in districts."
Senior Wicks and sophomore Swoboda, both newcomers to the state tournament, will face off with Lisa Buys and Lauren Collins from Cleveland in the first round.
Pendleton's Kristine Beamer won her way into the district championship match and finished in second place. Beamer plays Ruth Lopez of Grants Pass in the opening round.
"I'm excited to play again at state," Kristine Beamer said. "I'm hoping to win the first two rounds and then play the No. 1 seed."
Momie Qu of Wilson is the favorite to win this years singles championship and is seeded No. 1.
"Qu should win it hands down," Dick Beamer said. "She has her own personal coach. I'm hoping Kristine just gets to play Qu. It'd be a fun match to watch."
Kristine Beamer, who will be playing tennis at Lewis and Clark College in Lewiston, Idaho next year, is making her fourth trip to the state championships. She won her play-in game her freshman year but has never advanced beyond the first round.
"Kristine gets pretty tight and I think she tries too hard when she gets (to state)," coach Beamer said. "Hopefully this year she can relax and do better. It's just fun getting to the state tournaments."
The Hermiston boys tennis squad will be represented by the third place team from the district tournament, Mark Carollo and Paul Carollo, and the fourth place team of Calvin Meade and Derek Nagle. It will be the first visit to the state finals for both pairs.
"It's so easy for kids to get nervous in their first state competition," Hermiston boys coach John Lauck said. "I hope the boys play hard and aren't nervous in their first state championship. I would like the boys to be relaxed and play hard. Win or lose I'll be happy with their effort."
Meade and Nagle compete in a play-in match Thursday against the Sheldon team of Zach Dixon and Mike Kingsley, the fourth place team from the Midwestern League. If Meade and Nagle win their match they will advance to the first round against the No. 5 seed Lincoln's Brad Bacherlder and Andy Crooks.
Mark Carollo and Paul Carollo got a tough draw and will possibly have to face the No. 1 doubles seed of Rian Rifkin and Austin Rifkin from West Linn in the second round. The Carollo's first round opponent will be Brad Tauscher and Andrew Person from David Douglas.
"The Rifkins are are the defending state champions," Lauck said. "But Mark and Paul's first match could be very difficult. Their concentration is on the David Douglas team (in the first round) because they want the opportunity to play the defending state champions (in the second round). It's difficult to advance in the state tournament."