Sports

Decatur's Rice steams to district singles title

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The seven-month wait didn’t seem to slow down Decatur sophomore Chris Rice. In fact, the sophomore may have gotten better since he won the South Puget Sound League singles championship in October.

Rice proved to be the cream of the crop at the West Central/Southwest District Tennis Tournament at the University of Puget Sound Friday and Saturday. Rice rolled to the singles championship and a spot at his second Class 4A State Tournament.

Rice will be joined at state, which runs Friday and Saturday at Spokane’s Central Valley and University high schools, by Decatur singles player Jamie Chan, the Todd Beamer girls doubles team of Megan Havili and Judy Liening and the Jefferson pair of Katie Schultz and Corinna Fabre.

Rice cruised to the district title by dispatching of defending champ Joel Trudel of Bremerton in the finals, 6-4, 6-0. The four game losses in the final match accounted for a third of the games he lost during the entire district tournament. Rice dropped only 12 games in his four matches Friday and Saturday and had three 6-0 sets.

The win over Trudel was even more impressive because the Bremerton player beat the defending state champion, Hudson’s Bay Spencer Mendoza, in the semifinals.

The final match between Rice and Trudel was back and forth in the first set before Rice took control in the second. Rice downed Central Kitsap’s Francisco Carresquero in the semifinals, 6-1, 6-1, to earn the berth into the finals.

Rice’s singles victory helped the Decatur boys tennis team tie for the West Central/Southwest District title with Stadium, Bellarmine and Auburn Riverside. All four schools tallied nine team points.

Last year Rice teamed with now-graduated Brandon Abang to finish second in the district tournament. Abang and Rice finished up the 2003 state championships with a pair of wins and a pair of three-set, heart-breaking losses — one win shy of a medal.

Jefferson’s Todd Schultz and Kenny Fritschy, the only other Federal Way district entry on the boys’ side, failed to make it past the first day of competition Friday in doubles’ action. Schultz was trying to join his sister, Katie, at the state tournament.

Katie Schultz and Fabre finished up in seventh place Saturday after securing a spot at state during Wednesday’s preliminary action at districts. On Saturday in seeding matches, Schultz and Fabre lost to Havili and Liening in a consolation semifinal match, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, before beating Wilson’s Courtney Peart and Krystal Kors, 6-3, 6-2, in the seventh/eighth match.

Havili and Liening ended up placing fourth after beating Bellarmine’s Sarah Johnston and Ashley Flynn in the consolation finals, 6-0, 6-2.

Chan also ended up placing fourth in singles’ action. The Decatur junior beat Mountain View’s Jaclyn Webb in the consolation semifinal, 6-3, 6-3, and downed Bellarmine’s Amy Markhoff in the consolation final, 6-3, 6-2, to earn the district’s fourth seed to state.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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