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TENNIS: Jefferson girls claim SPSL championship, district tournament up next
The Thomas Jefferson girls tennis team completed a sweep of the South Puget Sound League titles.
The Raiders joined the TJ boys, who won the SPSL in the fall, as league champions last week by tallying 37 points. Jefferson outdistanced second-place Kentwood, who finished with 30 points.
The Raiders were led by the third-place finish by Cindy Park in singles' action. Park advanced into the semifinals before losing to Kentlake's Kara Ikeda, 6-3, 6-2. Park then beat Tahoma's Maddie Turek in the third-sixth match, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Park will be joined by teammate Michelle Lee and the TJ doubles teams of Breanna Ziccarelli and Krista Nakamura and Rileigh Qualls and Toni Mullen at the West Central District Tournament.
The top-eight finishers at the SPSL Tournament advanced to districts, which kicks off Saturday at Auburn Riverside High School and Game Farm Park in Auburn.
Lee finished up in eighth place after dropping her first match of the tournament to Turek. But Lee fought back to win two-straight consolation bracket matches to earn the district bid.
In doubles' action, Ziccarelli and Nakamura ended up in fifth place and Qualls and Mullen were seventh.
The Jefferson players will be joined at the West Central District Tournament by the Federal Way team of Lauren Lang and Mina Park, who finished in third at the SPSL Tournament, and the Beamer duo of Jenny Hoefel and Kiele Bowman, who ended up sixth.
After losing in the semifinals, Lang and Park went on to beat Hoefel and Bowman in the third/sixth match, 6-1, 6-2. The Beamer pair also lost in the semifinals.
After a six-month break, the boys will get back to playing tennis starting Saturday at the West Central District Tournament, which will be held at Auburn Riverside High School and the Game Farm Park.
The top-eight finishers during the district tournament advance to state.
Federal Way sophomore Mitch Stewart enters the district tournament as one of the favorites to walk away with the state championship. A season ago, he Last summer, Stewart won the Pacific Northwest Championship Sectional Tournament in the 16-under division in Beaverton, Ore. Stewart also played in tournaments in Louisiana, Illinois and Michigan, losing only three matches against national-level challengers.
According to tennisrecruiting.net, Stewart is the top tennis recruit in the Northwest and the 11th-best recruit in the nation for the Class of 2014.
Also playing in the singles' competition at districts will be Jefferson's Kainoa Rosa and Vivek Ramanjan and Federal Way's Alex Lewis. Rosa and Ramanujan will play each other in the opening round.
In doubles' action, two TJ pairs will be vying for berths to the state tournament. James Lee and Alex Lee finished second at the SPSL Tournament in the fall and Russell Stelzer and Zack Martin ended up in seventh place.