The Boulder City High School boys tennis program will be in search of their first 3A state championship since 1977 when it faces Northern Nevada challenger South Tahoe today in the state semifinals at the Reno Tennis Center.
“This season has far exceeded my expectations,” head coach Rachelle Huxford said. “However, we still have a job to get done. The boys are working hard to prepare to play South Tahoe and we’re working on a few changes that should improve our lineup.”
Along with contention for a team title, a handful of Eagles will be competing for individual titles as well, with singles competitors junior Andre Pappas and freshman Breton Erlanger advancing to the individual finals, along with the freshman doubles duo of Boen Huxford and Preston Jorgensen.
“I have complete confidence that we will do well both individually and as a team,” Huxford said. “We are exited we got two singles players and one doubles team into bracket play. They all have their work cut out for them this weekend, but I know they will play hard and do their best.”
Advancing to the state tournament, Pappas and Erlanger enter as the Southern’s No. three and four seeds, respectively, after both making it to the Southern Region third-place match. Despite Pappas defeating his younger teammate 6-0, 6-2 to finish as the region’s third-place individual finisher, both are expect to contend for the state title this weekend.
“My experience at regionals was great,” Pappas said. “There was good all-around competition and it definitely got everybody ready for state. I now know what I am up against, and how to plan for state.”
Looking to gain redemption at state, Pappas hopes to get another shot at second-place finisher Nate VanderPost from The Meadows after losing in the region semifinal 6-0, 6-3, while Erlanger hopes to set up a match with the Southern Region champion after being defeated by Western’s Rua Elmore 6-1, 6-0. Quarterfinals matchups against Northern Nevada opponents have yet to be established.
In doubles competition for the Eagles, Huxford and Jorgensen enter as the Southern Region No. five seed after battling in the consolation bracket against junior teammates Garrett Leavitt and Clayton Pendleton for the final state tournament spot. Defeating Leavitt and Pendleton 6-3, 6-1, Huxford and Jorgensen now have their eyes on the state prize despite having to face off against Southern champions Brian Capp and Ryan Chang from The Meadows in the quarterfinals.
The Eagles’ third doubles unit of junior Tanner Montgomery and sophomore Karson Bailey appeared in the consolation semifinals as well, before being ousted by Huxford and Jorgensen 6-0, 2-6, 6-2.
Making the trip to Reno as the lone Lady Eagle, freshman Tegan Pappas is in search of the state title after finishing as the Southern Region third-place finisher. Defeating Desert Pines’ Cassandra Bueno in the third-place game 6-4, 6-3. Tegan Pappas will try to avenge her loss to Southern Region champion Abbigail Klein, who outed the freshman phenom 6-1, 6-0. Pappas’ quarterfinals match against a Northern Nevada opponent has yet to be established.
“As a freshman, this has been a great learning experience for me,” she said.
“I have played so many players, all with a different styles of play. I have worked hard through every match though and I am proud of taking third in regionals.”
Finishing out their four-year prep careers with the Lady Eagles, the senior double tandem of Kyra Yamamoto and McKenna Frazier went down fighting for their last opportunity for a state tournament appearance before falling to eventual fifth-place finishers Caroline Liu and Jessica Lelah from The Meadows.
“Tennis brought us close together,” Yamamoto said. “I’m very sad that it’s over for us on high school courts, but we actually want to join another tennis team or club team in the future. We definitely want to play off-season now and keep getting better together.”
Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.
■ Today-Saturday, state championships, Reno Tennis Center