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SPSL 4A BOYS TENNIS TOURNAMENT
What: District-qualifying tournament involving all 18 South Puget Sound League schools.
Where: Federal Way Bally’s.
Times: Matches begin at 10 a.m. at Bally’s today. Finals are tentatively set for approximately noo, but that is subject to change, particularly if the schedule was affected by weather at any time during the first three days of play.
Who advances: The top-nine finishers in singles and doubles qualify for next spring’s West Central District tournament.
Format: The first two rounds are single-elimination, reducing the fields to 16. From that point, the eight remaining North entries will be in one half of the bracket, the eight South entries in the other half. On the championship side of the draw, the two semifinal matches essentially serve as the title matches for the respective divisions. The two semifinal winners then meet for the league championship, pitting the best from the North against the best from the South.
Defending champions: North singles: Max Manthou, Kentwood (returning). South singles: Scott Sullivan, Puyallup (graduated). League singles: Manthou. North doubles: Zack AhYat-Luyang Gai, Kentridge (both graduated). South doubles: Greg Medlock-Tony Rowley, Emerald Ridge (Rowley graduated). League doubles: AhYat-Gai. Team: Kentridge.
Players to watch: Singles: Max Manthou, a Kentwood junior, is the two-time defending Class 4A state champion. No one here is at his level, although Kentridge junior Matt Overland typically gives Manthou a good match, going three sets with him in September before Manthou prevailed, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. (It was 6-2, 6-1 for Manthou in the October rematch.) From the South, Beamer’s Joseph Dela Cruz is regarded as the top singles player. Doubles: Considered wide open in the North, with a pair of state-veteran duos regarded as the favorites: Kentridge’s Paul Yi and Vineeth Omkaram, along with Auburn’s Travis Hanley and Josh Jeter. From the South, Puyallup’s Pinkard brothers — junior Michael and freshman Brian — are regarded as the team to beat.
Federal Way school district’s players to watch: Along with Dela Cruz, Beamer also features district veterans Sean O’Bryan, Corey Zalewski and Chase Friedrich. O’Bryan and Zalewski played doubles together a season ago and Friedrich played with now-graduated Mike Johnson. This year, O’Bryan and Friedrich are playing together and Zalewski is competing in singles. For TJ, state-tournament veteran Joe Lee is playing singles and the Raiders have a pair of doubles teams that could make some noise — Branden Muraki and Brandyn Gomez and the brother team of Makoa and Kainoa Rosa. Federal Way’s best chance comes from the doubles team of Jake Stewart and Max Ward.
What’s next: This tournament concludes the fall portion of the season. Play resumes in the spring at the district tournament.