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Decatur's Rice steams to district singles title
By CASEY OLSON
The seven-month wait didnt 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 Spokanes 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, Hudsons 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 Kitsaps Francisco Carresquero in the semifinals, 6-1, 6-1, to earn the berth into the finals.
Rices 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.
Jeffersons 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 Wednesdays 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 Wilsons Courtney Peart and Krystal Kors, 6-3, 6-2, in the seventh/eighth match.
Havili and Liening ended up placing fourth after beating Bellarmines 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 Views Jaclyn Webb in the consolation semifinal, 6-3, 6-3, and downed Bellarmines Amy Markhoff in the consolation final, 6-3, 6-2, to earn the districts fourth seed to state.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com