Decatur’s Cassens finishes second at first state tennis tourney

Decatur freshman Meghan Cassens will have to wait until next year for another attempt at winning a state tennis championship.

Cassens lost to Gig Harbor sophomore Christy Sipes in the state title match Saturday afternoon at the Vancouver Tennis Center at the Class 4A State Girls Tennis Championships. Sipes, last year’s state singles runner up, beat Cassens in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.

The loss to Sipes was Cassens’ first of the season as a singles player. Cassens hadn’t even lost a set during the year and just a week ago, beat Sipes, 6-4, 6-2, to win the West Central District Tournament title.

Cassens cruised into the championship match. The Decatur freshman downed Wenatchee’s Nicole Barnhart in the first round Friday, 6-2, 6-0, and beat Kamiak’s Elaine Baik in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-1.

Cassens then returned Saturday morning to beat Mead’s Katrina Schwab, the best player from Eastern Washington, in the semifinals in Vancouver, 6-4, 6-1.

Although Cassens’ run into the championship match Saturday was expected, the fifth-place finish by the Jefferson doubles’ team of Averi Kitsch and Mackenzie Qualls was a little bit of a surpise.

Kitsch and Qualls finished up in seventh place at last weekend’s West Central District Tournament and were sixth at the South Puget Sound League Tournament.

The Jefferson pair rolled into the semifinals with two nail-biting wins Friday. Kitsch and Qualls downed Woodinville’s Cammie Powers and Kelly Irwin in the first round, 6-4, 7-6, and beat Shorewood’s Mackenzie Bang and Lisa Hamman in the quarterfinals, 3-6, 6-2, 1-0 (5), to earn a berth into Saturday’s semifinals.

Kitsch and Qualls were beaten by the Bellarmine Prep pair of Julia Galbraith and Nell Shonnard, 6-1, 6-0, and lost to Wenatchee’s Tatiana Wood and Amy Scheumann in the third/fifth match, 6-2, 6-2.

Cassens’ singles teammmate, sophomore Sara Lin, dropped her first two matches at the 4A tournament. Lin lost to Roosevelt’s Hallie Martin in the first round, 6-3, 6-2, and was knocked out of the tournament by Skyview’s Brittany Ellingsen in the consolation round, 6-4, 6-3.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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