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TENNIS: Jefferson snags district championship; Martins, Stewart win individual titles
The Thomas Jefferson Raiders were the best team in the South Puget Sound League all season long and can now call themselves the best team in the West Central/Southwest District.
The TJ boys tennis team outlasted Olympia Saturday to win the district championship with 26 team points. Olympia finished a close second with 23 at the Capitol City Tennis Center in Olympia.
Next up for the Raiders is the state tournament, which will be contested May 24-25 at Richland High School and the Tri-City Court Club in the Tri-Cities.
The Raiders were led by the doubles' team of Cameron and Zack Martin. The brothers won the district title in ultra-impressive fashion Saturday.
The Martins dominated a Bellarmine Prep team in the championship round, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) to earn the district's top seed into the Class 4A State Boys Tennis Tournament. State will be held in the spring.
The district title for the TJ team was a little bit of a surprise. The Martins were beaten in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the SPSL Tournament by the Kentridge team of Aadil Diwan and Randy Huynh and finished up in fourth place.
It was a different story at the district tournament. The Martins won all four of their matches in straight sets, beating the champions of the Greater St. Helen's League and the top seed from the Narrows League en route.
In a more expected finish, Federal Way junior Mitch Stewart rolled to his third-straight West Central/Southwest District singles championship in dominating fashion.
Stewart, who won the state title last year, downed Olympia's John Stormans in the district championship, 6-2, 6-2. In total, Stewart lost only five total games during his four matches.
He has only lost one match during his high school career. Stewart lost to Jackson's Michael Chamerski in the 4A championship during his freshman season. Chamerski is currently playing at the University of Washington.
During the summer, Stewart played in tennis tournaments all over the nation, winning the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Boys 16s National Clay Court Championship in Florida. He also finished 1-1 at the U.S. Open Junior Boys' Tournament in New York City.
Stewart, who is ranked fifth in the country by the USTA and 9th on the AthleticDNA College Recruiting List, has already narrowed his college choices to four of the most powerful programs in the nation — Duke, Georgia, UCLA and Washington.
The Martins and Stewart will be joined at the state tournament by Jefferson's Alex Chan and Alex Lee. Chan finished in third place in singles action and Lee snagged the district's seventh seed to state.
Chan, a freshman, beat Stadium's Aaron Park in the third/fourth match Saturday, 6-0, 6-1. Chan advanced into the semifinals with two straight-set wins before losing to Stormans, 6-0, 6-0.
Lee, a senior, lost to Chan in the quarterfinals, but came back and beat Federal Way's Alex Lewis in a winner-to-state, loser-out match Saturday, 6-3, 6-1. Lewis will be the first alternate to the state tournament.