Eagles cruise to state tennis title

Cruising its way through the 3A tournament, the Boulder City High School boys tennis team routed South Tahoe and The Meadows to claim its second consecutive state championship.

After defeating Northern challenger South Tahoe 15-3 in the semifinals, the Eagles (20-0) capped off their second consecutive undefeated season with a 10-2 victory over The Meadows in the finals.

“This one was a sweeter win than last year,” head coach Rachelle Huxford said. “The boys really came out and surprised me against The Meadows. I was nervous heading into the championship match that we were going to have to play some tie-breakers, and I told them that they had to win these certain matches, and they actually did better than that. Coming in we thought the road was going to be a lot more challenging, but the boys really stepped up. They wanted this, and they went out there and played great.”

The Eagles worked fast to dismantle their opponents, leaving no doubt who was the classification’s best.

“We felt going into the state championship that we finally put fear into our opponents,” junior Preston Jorgensen said. “I was happy we capitalized and finished Meadows off quickly to show everyone else in 3A that we are the undisputed best. It made me extremely happy and gave me a sense of pride.”

Defeating their rival Mustangs for a third time this season, Jorgensen and junior partner Boen Huxford finished 2-0 in doubles play, as did the duo of senior Karson Bailey and junior Ty Pendleton.

In singles competition, juniors Connor Mikkelson and Breton Erlanger finished 2-0, while Braden Soileau finished 1-1.

Starting strong from their opening-tournament matches against South Tahoe, Mikkelson and Erlanger finished 3-0 in singles, while Bailey and Pendleton and the duo of senior Leaf Kaboli and junior Philipp Zengl finished 3-0 in doubles.

Boen Huxford and Jorgensen were later subbed for the duo of sophomore Ethan Speaker and freshman Martin Thompson, who won their lone match.

“Winning state again was such an awesome experience,” Bailey said. “I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my tennis career than going undefeated and winning a state championship with such amazing teammates and coaches.”

Finding success in individual play as well, the Eagles crowned a state doubles champion after Huxford and Jorgensen defeated Bailey and Pendleton in the finals 6-2, 6-0.

“Honestly, the way they were playing this year together, no one was going to beat them,” Rachelle Huxford said. “After having the title slip through their fingers the last two years, they were really focused on winning it this year. They put in a lot of hard work to get here.”

Going undefeated this season in doubles play, Jorgensen said the duo’s past struggles helped them prevail.

“I just remember the feeling of disappointment last year when Boen and I unexpectedly lost,” Jorgensen said. “This year, Boen and I worked on our relationship on and off the court, which I think helped us finally achieve our goal. This led to us becoming better friends and made the feeling that much more special. We couldn’t help but give each other a big hug after the last point.”

In singles play, Mikkelson finished as the 3A state champion runner-up, falling to Western’s Rua Elmore 6-3, 6-4 in the finals.

He’ll have one more season with the Eagles to capture a singles title, along with a possible bid for an Eagles three-peat.

“Obviously, it is too early to think about that, but we do have nearly our entire team returning,” Rachelle Huxford said. “It will be really interesting to see how everything plays out. I know the boys will be another year experienced and will be up for the challenge.”

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