Summit tennis teams top league

The Storm boys and girls squads eye state championships again in 2013

By Beau Eastes (@beastes) and Grant Lucas (@Grant_Lucas88) / The Bulletin

Published Mar 31, 2013 at 05:00AM

With five state qualifiers back from a year ago, the Summit girls look primed to defend their 2012 Class 5A tennis title.

Lindsey Brodeck, the 5A singles runner-up last season, leads a strong junior class for the Storm that includes Haley Younger, a 2012 singles state quarterfinalist, and Morgan DeMeyer, who took fourth in doubles last year with then-partner Hannah Sheppard.

“This is a highly motivated group,” Storm coach Ryan Cruz says. “(State) is definitely our (goal) again. We hope we make another good run.”

Summit also brings back senior Kelsey Collis and junior Kacie Evans, who went to state as a doubles team last spring.

Bend High, which boasts seven seniors this year, including two-time state qualifier Kaylee Tornay, hopes to have a presence at state this year as well.

“Summit’s still the team to beat,” says Lava Bear coach Kevin Collier, whose team took 14th at state in 2012. “But we have a team that wants to compete. We’ve got girls that may not all be state champs, but they’ve been on the team for four years (now) and want to see what they can do.”

Kendall Marshall at No. 1 singles leads Redmond High, which joins Class 5A after placing second at the 6A Central Valley Conference districts in 2012. While no player on the Panthers’ roster qualified for state last season, 12th-year Redmond coach Nathan Saito points to three all-senior doubles teams that have the potential to represent the Panthers at state this year.

“I think the strength of this season is that there is a lot of seniors with experience, and all of them can beat each other, which makes it a competitive environment on the team,” says Saito, who notes that 12 players — half of the Redmond roster — are seniors. “They have to play their best tennis week in and week out.”

At the 4A/3A/2A/1A level, Crook County, which placed second at state last season after winning the small-school state crown in 2011, expects to again make a trophy run in 2013 with returning state qualifiers Elsa Harris, Ali Apperson and Annie Frazier. Harris went 1-1 in singles play at state last season, while Apperson and Frazier advanced (with different partners) to the doubles tournament.

The Cowgirls could face considerable competition from Central Oregon rival Ridgeview, which in its first year has several players who saw varsity time at crosstown Redmond High last season.

Though Ridgeview is kicking off its inaugural season, inexperience does not define the Ravens’ roster.

Five players from last season’s Redmond High squad make the transition to the new school, led by Ridgeview’s top two singles players in Caitlin Carr and Sally Claridge. And with strong doubles players Claire Wright, Courtney Wellette and Rhian Sage, Ravens coach Tim Miller expects his program to push opponents to their limits.

“Those kids are my core group,” Miller says, “so they will be my leaders, and I expect a lot out of them.”

Sisters High also brings back two players with state experience in seniors Paige Tosello and Shelbi Thompson. The two went 0-1 at state as a doubles pair in 2012.

The depth of Summit’s boys team knows no bounds.

Despite losing a two-time individual state champion in Paxton Deuel, the Storm boys are eyeing their fourth Class 5A state title in five years.

Sophomore singles player Chandler Oliveira, who placed third at state a year ago, is back, as is senior Scott Parr, who with then-partner Lionel Hess was the 2012 5A state doubles runners-up.

“We’re loaded,” admits Storm coach Josh Cordell. “It’s pretty amazing. We lost more than we’ve ever lost (to graduation) — points at state, leaders, kids that have played varsity for a long time. ... But (this year) we’ve got five elite players and then we’re about 20 deep on guys that could play varsity.”

Junior Liam Hall falls into that elite category, according to Cordell, after taking fourth at state in doubles play last spring with his brother Bo, who graduated. Among the other top players for Summit are Parker Nichols, a senior who made it to the singles consolation final at state in 2012, and junior William Dalquist, whose doubles team lost in the district quarterfinal last year to the eventual state champs.

“Our first goal is to win state as a team,” says Cordell, who has been Summit’s coach ever since the school opened in 2001. “Everything else falls under that — individual goals, where kids play in the lineup, who plays doubles together ... and these kids have really bought into that.

“We’ve got a team rule,” Cordell adds. “You can ask me anything you want, suggest anything you want, but you have to finish the question with, ‘But I’ll do what’s best for the team.’ ”

Bend High’s boys hope to land at least one state-qualifying berth from the district tournament. Lava Bear coach Grant Ludwick points to the doubles team of Cameron Tulare and Casey Collier, returners who missed out on state by one win last year.

“We’d love to win all our dual matches and win district as a team, but we know that’s not realistic with Summit being a powerhouse,” says Ludwick, who is being assisted by former Mountain View head coach Alex Bick this season. “The goal for us is to find that lineup that gets us a doubles team and maybe a singles (player) to state.”

At Redmond, Zach Powell leads a group of seven seniors that Panthers coach Jim Ferguson believes could challenge for the second or third spot in the competitive Special District 1. Fortunately for Ferguson, Redmond has a veteran list of players whom he describes as “top dogs.”

“They’ve been with me a long time,” Ferguson says. “They know my expectations. They’re willing to work hard for it. I think they’re willing to put the time in.”

Mountain View is coming off a fourth-place finish at state but will be without Matt Larraneta and Matt VanHemelryck, who graduated after winning the 2012 5A doubles state title.

Still, Cougars coach Brad Soto says his lineup will be full of seniors — led by the No. 1 doubles team of Blake Miller and Bryce Tipton — with aspirations of finishing in the top three at districts.

In 4A/3A/2A/1A, Sisters junior Paul Fullhart highlights the area’s small-school tennis storylines. A year after making his state debut, Fullhart looks to make some noise in the state singles tournament this season. The Outlaws’ No. 1 doubles duo of Devan Calvin and Evan Rickards could also make a state tourney run.

Madras brings back several players with varsity experience. Jordan Gemelas and Eliceo Garcia advanced to the quarterfinal round of last year’s Class 4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 2 doubles tournament, and Alexsis Penaloza and Carlos Garcia both played varsity singles in 2012.

Crook County and Ridgeview are both fielding fairly young teams this spring and hope to build a foundation for seasons to come.

Guiding a first-year program, Ravens coach Todd Neville says his first goal is to instill mental toughness into his players.

With Caleb Maxwell tabbed as the No. 1 singles player and a potential state qualifier, and with the doubles tandems of Colin Ronhaar and Gabe Payne as well as Chase Bennett and Brandon Huff, Neville sees a competitive drive within his program.

“Quite frankly, I’d be happy and tickled if we qualified anyone to state,” Neville says. “But I just simply want to see what we can get this year and build that mental and physical ability for next year, where kids will really see a leap in their competitiveness and ability to win matches.”

Tennis, at a glance

A look at Central Oregon teams competing in tennis this spring:

BOYS

CLASS 5A

Bend Lava Bears

Head coach: Grant Ludwick (sixth season)

2012 finish: Fourth at Class 5A Special District 1

tournament

Outlook: Cameron Tulare and Casey Collier,

whether playing as a doubles team or as singles

players, could advance to state.

Mountain View Cougars

Head coach: Brad Soto (first year)

2012 finish: Fourth at Class 5A state tournament

Outlook: The Cougars’ lineup will be made up

entirely of seniors, with a goal of placing at least

third at districts.

Redmond Panthers

Head coach: Jim Ferguson (sixth season)

2012 finish: Did not advance any players to the

Class 6A state tournament

Outlook: The Panthers’ Nathan Powell is expected

to be one of the better singles players in the

Intermountain Conference.

Summit Storm

Head coach: Josh Cordell (12th season)

2012 finish: Won Class 5A state title

Outlook: Despite losing a two-time individual

state champion in Paxton Deuel, the Storm are

deep enough to be favored to win their fourth state

title in five years.

CLASS 4A/3A/2A/1A

Crook County Cowboys

Head coach: Michael Boyd (first season)

2012 finish: Advanced two players to Class

4A/3A/2A/1A state tourney but did not place as a

team

Outlook: Cowboys are rebuilding after their only

two state qualifiers from 2012 graduated.

Madras White Buffaloes

Head coach: Margaret Kincaid (seventh season)

2012 finish: Did not advance any players to the

class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tourney

Outlook: Singles player Alexsis Penaloza and the

doubles team of Caleb Freshour and Eliceo Garcia

look to lead the Buffs in 2012.

Ridgeview

Head coach: Todd Neville (first season)

2012 finish: First-year program

Outlook: Ravens doubles team of Colin Ronhaar

and Gabriel Payne has the most experience on a

young team.

Sisters Outlaws

Head coach: Bim Gander (first season)

2012 finish: Advanced one player to Class 4A/3A/

2A/1A state tourney but did not place as a team

Outlook: Junior Paul Fullhart looks to again qualify

for state after advancing in singles play in 2012.

GIRLS

CLASS 5A

Bend Lava Bears

Head coach: Kevin Collier (16th season)

2012 finish: 14th at Class 5A state tournament

Outlook: Seven seniors, including two-time state

qualifier Kaylee Tornay, expect to lead Bend.

Mountain View Cougars

Head coach: Shane Therrian (first season)

2012 finish: Advanced one player to Class 5A

state tournament but did not place as a team

Outlook: Senior captains Jasmine Coplin and

Courtney Horrell lead an experienced Cougars

squad that boasts good depth.

Redmond Panthers

Head coach: Nathan Saito (12th season)

2012 finish: Advanced two players to the Class 6A

state tournament but did not place as a team

Outlook: The senior-heavy Panthers look to

capitalize on experience to make up for a lack of

depth that they have had in the past.

Summit Storm

Head coach: Ryan Cruz (second season)

2012 finish: Won Class 5A state tournament

Outlook: Strong junior class has Storm as 5A

favorites again in 2013.

CLASS 4A/3A/2A/1A

Crook County Cowgirls

Head coach: Lloyd Rodgers (12th season)

2012 finish: Second at Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state

tournament

Outlook: Cowgirls should contend for a trophy at

state with singles player Elsa Harris and doubles

players Ali Apperson and Annie Frazier all back

after advancing to state in 2012.

Madras White Buffaloes

Head coach: Dave Jordan (fifth season)

2012 finish: Did not advance any players to state

Outlook: Madras returns its top doubles team

from a year ago, Kaitlyn Carter and Ivette Ruiz,

who won the consolation bracket at the 2012

4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 2 district meet.

Ridgeview Ravens

Head coach: Tim Miller

2012 finish: First-year program

Outlook: The Ravens expect to be competitive at

the 4A/3A/2A/1A level with several players having

6A varsity experience last year at Redmond High.

Sisters Outlaws

Head coach: Marti Dale (seventh season)

2012 finish: Advanced four players to state

tournament but did not place as a team

Outlook: Paige Tosello and Shelbi Thompson

hope to reach state again after qualifying as

doubles partners in 2012.