PASCO — Wa-Hi’s boys tennis players filled regional alternate spots in both singles and doubles after the Mid-Columbia Conference District tournament the concluded here Saturday.
Ruslan Kuznetsov took the singles alternate slot with a third-place finish, and the team of Nicholas Fuller and Andrew Bateman did the same in doubles.
Kuznetsov opened with a 6-0, 6-0 thumping of Chiawana’s Edgar Magana-Farias, followed by a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Richland’s Edward Jaffe. He then fell to Richland’s Trent Prussing, 6-4, 6-3, in the semifinals, but then handled Chiawana’s Manuel Mendoza, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the consolation semis, and then Riverhawk Luis Mendoza, 7-6, 6-2, in the finals.
Fuller and Bateman enjoyed a first-round bye before handing a Richland team a 7-5, 6-3 defeat. They then lost to another Bomber duo, 7-6, 6-4, in the semifinals before downing Blue Devil teammates Malcolm Gabbard and Gerrod Peck, 6-1, 6-2, in the consolation semfinals, and then the first Richland team they defeated, 6-0, 6-0.
“It was a very hot couple of day in the mid-90s,” Wa-Hi coach Bryan Eggart said. “Our goal was to have some regional qualifiers, and after the first two rounds of the tournament on Friday, we were right where we needed to be with players in three of the four main draw semifinal matches.
“We played Richland teams in each of those matches,” he said. “They did a better job of closing out big points within games and managed to take all three of those semifinal matches. After being knocked out of the main draw, we showed a lot of resilience in the consolation bracket to bounce back and take both regional alternate positions in singles and doubles, by finishing third in the tournament overall.”
Wa-Hi singles players Connor Christensen, Zach Anderson and Micah Rambo all dropped first-round singles matches and did not place.
Douglas Rowley and Parker Toon, along with Gabbard and Peck, also teamed up two pick up a couple victories, but lost consolation semifinal matches.
Kuznetsov earned all-MCC first team honors, and Christensen was named to the second team.
“Overall, I was proud of the way our athletes competed throughout the tournament,” Eggart said. “I have a group of players that are extremely motivated to play and will work hard this offseason to improve all aspects of their games.”
The regional tournament is Saturday at Richland.