EUGENE The tennis championships for boys and girls in Class 4A-1A begin today at University of Oregon in Eugene.
Coming off team district titles, the Umatilla Vikings have the most players going in the brackets, which have seen a large amount of turnover in one season.
Only the pigtail matches will be contested today in pro sets, with the first round starting on Friday and the semifinals and championships taking place Saturday. All rounds after the play-in matches will be best-of-three sets.
No area players were awarded a seed, but all got fairly good draws and wont face a seeded player or team in their first match.
Two singles players and two doubles teams will start today, one each in the boys and girls brackets.
Representing Stanfield, Michael Gehrke finds himself in a similar situation as last season and is the only boy from the area with experience at the state level.
He lost his play-in game last season but will be able to use that experience as an edge on first-time state qualifier Jordan Dobney of Vale. The winner will face No. 2 seed Matt Sipowicz of Oregon Episcopal, and the loser will be eliminated with no shot at the consolation bracket.
In the boys doubles bracket Mac-His Rafael Villagomez and Mauricio Gomez will open their first state tournament against Henley first-timers Jacob and Alex Mangan. The winner will play Jordan Curtis and Lukas Huggins of Baker, an unseeded team that went 0-2 at state last season.
Starting in the girls bracket today will Mac-His Estefani Lamas, who will play La Salle Preps Ashley Bacon in both girls first state match. The winner will move on to face No. 2 seed Kaitlyn Lomartie of Valley Catholic who also is making her state debut.
Rounding out todays action from area netters will be Karina Ortiz and Norma Chavez of Umatilla. They play Ali Apperson and Lisa Pham of La Grande as both teams look for a win in their first state match. The winner will play Cascades unseeded team of Yolanda Hernandez and Esther Suelzie. Suelzie went 1-2 at state last season with a different partner.
Fridays action will feature several more area players, with not much more state experience.
Umatillas Susan Routson is the only local player to have a state win under her belt after going 1-2 last season. The junior Viking will open against either Crook Countys Natasha Weirsch or Henleys Megan Conley depending on the outcome of their pigtail match. Both girls are seniors in their first trip to state.
A likely second-round opponent for Routson should she win would be No. 1 seed Rachel Nedrow of Oregon Episcopal, the defending state champion.
Also playing in girls singles will be Iones Shadow Kendrick and shell face state rookie Michelle Kramer of La Salle Prep. A win for Kendrick could lead to a second-round showdown with No. 4 seed Malvika Ramesh of Blanchet Catholic who went 1-1 at state last season.
In girls doubles, Umatillas Anali Rubio and Muranda Cranston will try to add a state win to their resume after going 0-1 last season. They open play against the winners of a pigtail match between Sisters Jen Houk and Elize Herron and La Salle Preps Kenzie Harris and Mallory Martz. The Sisters team was 0-1 at state last season also, while Harris went 0-1 with a different partner.
The second round could see Rubio and Cranston facing Oregon Episcopals No. 3 seeded team of Hannah Huston and Cassy Lematta. Huston was 3-2 at state last season with a different partner.
Stanfields Yazell Chavez and Martela Carrillo will debut at state on Friday against the winners of a pigtail match between Sisters Shelbi Thompson and Paige Tosello and Oregon Episcopals Isabel Robertson and Meredith Loy. The winner of Fridays match would likely see the No. 2 seed of Amy DeLong and Jessi Fife of Vale. DeLong placed second last season with a different partner.
In boys singles on Friday, Umatillas Cole Reiner will go up against Staytons Johan Ulvsback in a state debut for both players. Waiting in the second round for the winner is likely to be No. 1 seed Will Cochrane of Phoenix who placed second last season.
Meanwhile the Vikings Martin Rubio will open his first state tournament against Keaton Baker of North Bend. The winner of that match is likely to see No. 2 seed Sipowicz of Oregon Episcopal.
Also making state debuts in doubles action are Helixs Greg Papineau and Josh Lambert and Umatillas Edgar Magana and Daniel Garcilazo.
The Helix team will open play against Kevin Johnson and Nathan Petrie of North Bend while the Umatilla tandem will start off with Bakers Brandon Zunino and Nathan Eiselein.
Only Zunino has state experience in that group after he went 1-1 last season with a different parter, losing in the quarterfinals.
Seeded opponents await the winners of both matches in the second round.
Play begins today at 5 p.m. and at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Saturdays championship matches are scheduled for noon start times.