Chewelah boy’s tennis produced a champion last weekend in the Regional Tournament of District 7 and 9 schools in the A and B school divisions. With perseverance and determination the duo of Tyler Monasmith and David Vilchiz won three straight matches for the number one seed to the State Championships in Yakima. Their first set was basically a warm up match against the second doubles team from St. Georges. They easily dominated the match with their one-two punch, with a serve or baseline shot then a put away at the net ending in 6-1, 6-2. In their second match they faced the number one team from St. Georges who were the #2 seed from the B’s. The ending results were very similar, 6-2, 6-1 with both boys getting to the net and using the power position. Monasmith used his slice shots to confuse the players a couple times where they ended up over 6 feet from where the ball ended up bouncing the second time. Vilchiz had a few extreme angle shots that went into the adjoining court and were unplayable. Just by watching the match you could tell which team wanted the win more, and it was definitely Monasmith and Vilchiz. These two wins clinched the trip to State, and the final match was for individual medals and seeding at State. In “the main event” they took on Tyler Frank and Kevin Murphy from Reardan who they had beaten earlier in the year in three sets, with one tie breaker. The friendly match started out even on both sides with teams exchanging games and Chewelah dominating their games with great serves, but came down to a tie breaker in which Chewelah was ahead 5-3, but ended up losing 5-7 due to net shots that went out of bounds. In the second set the Cougars started to roar and won in a quick 6-2 set, keeping the baseline shots away from the net person and burning a few alleys. In the third set Chewelah showed they are “the real deal” with a 6-1 crushing set with fantastic rallies but Chewelah knowing how to be patient until they could take advantage of the situation and go for the winner. After the match all the Chewelah and Colville fans went wild and also sang Happy Birthday to Vilchiz as it was his 18th. The pair will be in the 16 team draw at Yakima Tennis Club facing Seattle Academy in their first match at 10 a.m. on Friday.
The second boy’s double team of Sam Cobb and Tommy Norman showed their vast improvement in the last few weeks making it into the last match of the tourney to qualify for State alternate. In their first match they lost to the #1B seed but really didn’t give it their best effort. However, in their second match “it was frosting on the cake” with a huge 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 upset win over the #1 Riverside team of seniors, Potter and Barnes. These big boys bring a lot to the court, but Cobb and Norman stood up to them in the second and third sets and kept the ball away from the net man, took the power position and used consistency at the baseline for the win. As the match changed hands, the body language of both teams could easily tell you who was in charge, and it was unquestionably the Cougars. In the next match Cobb and Norman lost to the #1 St. George’s team with a few too many uncontrolled shots. In the quest for a chance to be the alternate to State, Cobb and Norman faced Rustin and Vanderlip of Lakeside in the third meeting in eight days. This time the Cougars were not victorious but they did put up a great fight.
In boy’s singles action, Jeff Petersen lost both of his matches. In the first against Max Mielke of Davenport, Petersen got too far behind before he decided to play his game. This resulted is Mielke already being on top of his game and Petersen’s big serves were lobbed back and his unforced errors got the better of him. In his second match against Zac Swanger of LRS, Petersen let Swanger control the tempo of the match with his lobbing game and Petersen was unable to bring his usual game to the court as he lost a match that he easily would have won. He forced a tie breaker in the first set and lost, then won the second set fairly easily. Conversely, he got bored in the third set and lost.
“Being a senior, Petersen should have fought harder and more consistently, because I thought he was very capable of winning his last two matches and going to State, but as they say, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog,” commented Coach Smith.
In girl’s singles, Naomi Miller was seeded 2nd but was upset in the first round. In fact, the B schools swept the A schools is this division, taking all the allocations to State. Her first loss was to newcomer, Tracy Melville of LRS, in which she just couldn’t find her groove and beat herself. The second match against Andie Olson of Freeman was better fought and thought out, but unforced errors cost her the match despite the fact that her back hand was earning many points.
In girl’s doubles, Becka Kenney and Bethany Kofmehl came close to going to State but fell a tad short. “I didn’t like that the girls had to play three matches in one day with the last one being ten hours after we got there. The girls gave it all they had, but they ran out of energy and their level of play dropped below normal. If they had played the match the next day, I believe the results would have gone our way. We had match point twice but were too worn out to capitalize on it”, said Coach Smith. The girls easily won their first match against Reardan with great serves and net play, 6-3, 6-2. Their second match in the semi finals pitted them against Doggen and Little of Colville who dominated the first set but fell apart in the second and Kenney and Kofmehl had a chance to show the crowd that “they are a legit team” and State contenders. However, in the third set, the battle was back on and Chewelah lost. Then Kenney and Kofmehl had to sit around for hours and scout the competition before there was a team to play. Finally, they played the last match of the day. They won the first set and were ahead in the second and had to put up with the lob queen on the other side who finally wore them down and won the match.
By Denise Smith JHS Tennis Coach
In this photo: Eight Chewelah tennis players competed at the Bi-district tournament Friday and Saturday. Shown are Coach Heidi, winning the mens doubles championship are Tyler Monasmith and David Vilchiz, Jeff Petersen, Sam Cobb, Tommy Norman, Coach Denise Smith and in front are Naomi Miller, Rebecca Kenney, and Bethany Kofmehl! Kim Johnstone photo. Mara Schneider photo.