Decatur's Rice named South Player of the Year

Mirror staff

There was no dispute that Decatur sophomore Chris Rice was one of the best tennis players in the South Puget Sound League South Division this season. But Rice solidified that he was the best of the best during the Gators late-season SPSL South match against Emerald Ridge. That is when Rice beat the unbeatable Greg Ferry in three sets. The loss was the first of Ferry’s four-year singles’ career in the SPSL and earned Rice the SPSL South’s Player of the Year award.

Rice compiled a perfect 12-0 record as Decatur’s No. 1 singles player this season for the fourth-place Gators and will be looking at a return trip to the Class 4A State Tennis Championships. The tennis postseason kicked off Saturday with the SPSL Tournament, which concluded yesterday, weather permitting, with crossover matches between the North and South top seeds. The top-four earn berths to West Central Districts, which will be played in the spring.

Jefferson players were also well represented on the seven-member SPSL South All-League Team. The undefeated league champions placed two on the first team and two as honorable mention, as well as coach Andrew Buchan being named Coach of the Year. Kenny Fritschy and Todd Schultz earned first-team honors and Shane Odenwalder and Jewel Sharpe were named honorable mention.

Fritschy finished with a 6-2 record as TJ’s No. 2 singles player and Schultz also finished 6-2 as Jefferson’s No. 1 player. Sharpe and Odenwalder were 8-2 as TJ’s No. 1 doubles’ team.

Federal Way’s Eric Ryan and Decatur’s Travis Wagner were also named honorable mention by the league’s coaches. Ryan was 11-1 as the Eagles’ No. 2 singles player and Wagner was 5-0 as a singles player and 6-1 with doubles partner Tim Blackner.

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