Longtime Central Valley teacher and coach Stan Chalich, youngest of iconic CV siblings who had a major athletic footprint there from the 1940s into the 1960s, participated in and has witnessed many of that school’s greatest sporting accomplishments.
He ranks Tuesday’s Bears 4-3 girls tennis victory over Mead among them.
“This is the best,” Chalich said. “I was really proud of them.”
Chalich has coached girls tennis at his alma mater since 1985 after coaching nearly every boys sport at one level or another, including varsity basketball, during a 43-year teaching career.
“It’s about giving back,” he said of his tenure.
He can’t recall the last time his team defeated the Panthers. Chalich estimated it to be at least 15 years.
“Mead has been a power for a long time,” he said.
But the Bears did so during a match twice delayed by snow behind undefeated No. 4 singles player Nicole Richardson and by winning all three doubles matches. Among them was a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 triumph by No. 1 doubles Samantha Block and Allison Burdick.
After losing the first set, Burdick said their coach “told us to be more aggressive at the net and relax. Our serving was good and everything started flowing.”
Mead was at match point in the second set, Block recounted, but CV rallied with a couple of service aces.
“There were a couple of deuces in the last game,” she said. “But we fought hard.”
Central Valley has experience, intellect and passion. Most Bears are three- and four-year starters. Several are honor students.
“They are coachable and their work ethic is unbelievable,” Chalich said.
Richardson is bound for Stanford after this year to major in engineering.
“I applied just to say I applied,” she said. “I didn’t want to waste my 4.0 grade average. It was a big surprise (to be accepted). I was not expecting it.”
She took up tennis in middle school, although it was second to soccer, a sport she played for four years at CV.
“Mr. Chalich has kind of a simple outline for the game,” she said. “Keep the ball in play and move the opponent around. It’s not how hard you hit it, but play smart. We all benefit from that.
“We’re pretty excited. We really haven’t been able to touch (Mead) until this year.”
Undefeated following that victory, the Bears are in the hunt for their first Greater Spokane League title.
Inland Empire Tourney
The Inland Empire Tennis Tournament, in its seventh decade and one of the biggest high school showcases, returns at various locations Friday and next Saturday.
Not one, but two aces
Central Valley boys golfers recorded not one, but two holes-in-one during separate competitions this past week.
The first, by freshman Michael Stansbury, who has yet to compete in a GSL varsity match, came on the 128-yard 11th hole at Avondale during the Bill Kraus Invite, won by the Bears.
The second came by junior state veteran Joel Christensen on the 174-yard third hole at Liberty Lake using an 8-iron. It helped him to a fourth-place 74 during the third GSL meet of a five-meet season.
CV served notice in the meet, finishing two strokes behind team winner Lewis and Clark (380-382) as Greater Spokane League golf remains as close as advertised.
The LC boys regained the league lead over Mt. Spokane with their second team victory this spring The Bears are third after medalist Dakota Pearce’s 69.
“He certainly has the potential,” coach Steve Rasmussen said. “He’s one of those kids who has kind of a flat swing. When his tempo is on, his ball flight is as good as I’ve seen around.”
Rasmussen said that the two-stroke setback was bittersweet as close as it was to victory. One of his golfers took an 11 on the 16th hole and another triple- and double-bogeyed the final two holes.
“So I was actually disappointed,” Rasmussen said. “At the same time, that’s the way golf is.”
GSL girls golf remains a three-team race among LC, Mt. Spokane and Mead.