TENNIS: Decatur wins SPSL 3A Division crown; TJ dominates SPSL 4A Tournament

For the first time since 2004, the Decatur boys tennis team will be able to raise a banner as the champions of the South Puget Sound League.

The Gators finished the SPSL 3A Division regular season with a 7-2 record. The Peninsula Seahawks also finished with two losses, but the teams split their two matches during the SPSL South season and will share the division championship.

"I am super happy for them," said head coach John Cassens. "It was very fun for them. They got to win the league and now we get to put that up on the wall at school."

According to Cassens, no one on the entire Decatur team plays tennis year-round, like many of the top players in the area, making the league championship even more special.

"They all completely overachieved," he said. "They really figured it out this year.

The Gators were led all season by the threesome of Ken Sheedy, Mitchell Grant and Steve Kang. Sheedy and Grant played a bulk of the season as Decatur's No. 1 doubles team and lost only one time. Kang was the Gators' top singles player and also suffered only one individual defeat during the SPSL 3A season.

Next up for Decatur is the SPSL 3A Tournament, which got underway Wednesday at Auburn Mountainview High School. Sheedy and Grant enter as the No. 2 seed in the doubles' competition and Kang is the third seed in the singles' bracket. The top-three finishers at the SPSL 3A Tournament advance to the West Central District Tournament, which is slated for Oct. 25-26 at the Sprinker Tennis Center in Tacoma.

SPSL 4A Tournament

The Thomas Jefferson Raiders dominated the SPSL 4A Tournament, winning the league title for the second year in a row. The Raiders, who have won 55-straight league matches, blew away the field at Auburn Riverside High School. Jefferson won both the singles’ and doubles’ championships and its 43 team points outdistanced second-place Tahoma and Kentridge, who tied with 26.

To illustrate Jefferson’s dominance, the Raiders occupied three of the four championship-match spots for Wednesday’s finals at Auburn Riverside. Sophomore Alex Chan beat junior Cameron Martin for the SPSL singles’ title, 6-4, 6-4, and TJ seniors Zach Martin and Vivek Ramanujan downed an Auburn team in the doubles’ championship, 7-6, 6-4.

The top-nine finishers in both the singles’ and doubles’ action advanced to the West Central/Southwest District Tournament, which will be played next weekend at the Capital City Tennis Center in Olympia.

The TJ doubles team of Hakeem Clark and Alex Papke also clinched a spot at districts. Clark and Papke finished in eighth place after losing to a Tahoma team Wednesday in three sets, 5-7, 6-1, 10-7.

Beamer will be represented at the West Central District Tournament by the doubles’ team of Max Dalrymple and Ben Arata. The pair rolled into the semifinals before losing to Martin and Ramanujan, 6-3, 6-3, and ended up in third place after beating a Kentwood team, 1-6, 6-4, 7-5.


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