Decatur's Cassens wins another district tennis title

Decatur sophomore Meghan Cassens didn’t drop a set during her run to her second West Central District singles crown Saturday in Spanaway. - Casey Olson/The Mirror
Decatur sophomore Meghan Cassens didn’t drop a set during her run to her second West Central District singles crown Saturday in Spanaway.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

Decatur sophomore Meghan Cassens continued her dominance of the West Central District Girls Tennis Tournament Saturday.

Cassens breezed to her second-straight singles championship Friday and Saturday at the Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over South Kitsap’s Rae Cochreham in the title match.

The sophomore now sets her sights on winning the Class 4A state title. Cassens entered last year’s tournament as the favorite before losing to Gig Harbor’s Christy Sipes in the title match.

Cassens won’t have to contend with Sipes during this year’s tournament, which kicks off Friday in the Tri-Cities. Sipes chose not to play high school tennis this year to concentrate on competing in club tennis.

Cassens didn’t drop a set during her run to this year’s West Central District title. The sophomore beat Rogers’ Kristen Houmes in the opening round, 6-0, 6-0, then downed Olympia’s Katelyn Orchard in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-1.

Cassens then beat Central Kitsap’s Corinne Wurden in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-3, to set up the championship match with Cochreham.

Cassens will have some company from Federal Way in the Tri-Cities. Beamer freshman Joseph de la Cruz will make his inaugural appearance at the state tournament after finishing third in the boys’ singles competition Friday and Saturday at the West Central District Tournament. Joining Cassens and de la Cruz will be the Jefferson duo of Caroline Min and Mackenzie Qualls. Min and Qualls finished fourth in the girls’ doubles competition.

De la Cruz earned the district’s third seed Saturday by beating Gig Harbor’s Max Jiganti in the third-fifth match in a rugged three-setter, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

De la Cruz rolled into the semifinals with wins over Central Kitsap’s Amel Hipolito in the opening round, 6-0, 7-6 (7-1), and a victory over Gig Harbor’s Andrew Anderson in the quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-3.

But the semifinal is where de la Cruz ran into Kentridge’s Matt Overland, who downed the Beamer freshman, 6-3, 6-1. Overland went on to loss to Kentwood’s Max Manthou in the final, 6-0, 6-4.

The loss to Overland sent de la Cruz into the third-sixth match Saturday with Jiganti.

Min and Qualls’ run to the state tournament was not as easy as their Federal Way school district counterparts. The Jefferson duo dropped their opening-round match before winning four-straight consolation bracket matches to earn the district’s fourth seed to state.

Min and Qualls, both juniors, knocked off Beamer’s Melissa Canfield and Jessika Sutcliff in the consolation bracket semifinals Friday morning to earn the berth to state, 7-5, 6-3. The win moved the TJ pair into the fourth-sixth match Saturday against Curtis’ Sammie Teigen and Sarah Betterridge, which Min and Qualls won, 6-0, 6-7, 6-2.

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