TENNIS: Decatur's Cassens and Nowasad and Federal Way's Stewart snag district titles

Decatur High School senior Meghan Cassens is doing things a little different this year.

During her first three years on the Gator tennis team, Cassens advanced to the championship match at the Class 4A state tournament in singles action. As a freshman, Cassens lost to Gig Harbor's Christy Sipes, before winning the last two state titles with relative ease. The dominance led to Cassens signing a national letter of intent to play in the fall at Iowa State University.

But Cassens won't be defending her singles title this year. She has decided to play doubles during her last season at Decatur.

Things have started off pretty well for Cassens and her partner, Kamilla Nowasad, who cruised to the 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district doubles championship Saturday at the Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma.

Cassens and Nowasad, an exchange student from Poland, beat Colombia River's Lauren Wetzel and Julie Piboonvaranggoon in the title match, 6-3, 6-4.

Cassens and Nowasad will take on Seattle Prep's Barbara Ann Carey and Sarah Newman in their state opener Friday in the Tri-Cities. The 3A state competition will take place at the Tri City Court Club and Kamiakin High School in Kennewick.

While Cassens is chasing her third state tennis title, Federal Way freshman phenom Mitch Stewart is looking for his first. The nationally-ranked Stewart won all four of his matches at the 4A West Central District Tournament, including a rugged three-set victory over Skyview's Kent Adreasen in the championship Friday. After dropping the first set, 6-3, Stewart dominated the final two sets, 6-0, 6-1, to claim the district title at Sprinker.

Stewart will open with Jackson's Mitch Williamson Friday at the Class 4A State Tennis Tournament at Vancouver Tennis Center. He will be joined in the 4A singles bracket by Beamer's Joseph de la Cruz, who snagged the district's seventh seed by finishing 3-2 during the tournament. De la Cruz will play Wenatchee's Clint Vidano in his state opener Friday.

In doubles action, the Thomas Jefferson brother team of Makoa and Kainoa Rosa will play at another state tournament after finishing third at the district tournament. The Rosa brothers ended up in fifth place at the 2010 Class 4A State Tennis Tournament.

The TJ pair advanced into the semifinals before losing to Bellarmine Prep's Spencer Herron and Keenan Dolan Friday, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. They then beat Union's Tommy Foster and Connor Home in the third/fourth match, 6-3, 6-4. The pair opens the state tournament against Wenatchee's Nick Mandelis and Lucas Tilly Friday in Vancouver.

The Rosas will be joined by TJ teammates Brandyn Gomez and Alex Lee, who ended up seventh in the district tournament. Gomez and Lee open against Richland's Travis Zuroske and Josh Luo in Friday's opener.

In girls' action at the 4A tournament, Jefferson freshman Cindy Park will make her first trip to state after finishing seventh at districts in singles. The Beamer doubles team of Jenny Hoefel and Kiele Bowman, who also finished seventh, will compete.


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