Appropriately, considering this spring’s weather tribulations, it took three tries before history-making Gonzaga Prep secured its first Greater Spokane League boys tennis championship.
The Bullpups won their milestone title on Thursday by beating defending champ Ferris 5-2. The match had been suspended on Monday because of rain after being rained out on its original date.
“The boys have been in the shadow of this school’s juggernaut women’s program for so long,” sixth-year Prep coach Christian Birrer said. “It’s nice we’re finally contributing something to the legacy of Prep tennis. We dedicated it to (late girls coach) Donna Lenseigne. She set the bar for what a high school tennis program should look like.”
G-Prep had won the first set of all four singles matches and one doubles match before the inclement weather intervened. Three of those teams won three days later, but Birrer said the match was turning in the Saxons’ favor until a doubles team that trailed after a set Monday came away victorious and another, trailing 5-1 in the third set, rallied to win it 7-5, assuring the outcome.
Clay Leland, a junior first-year player, and freshman Daniel Sheppard on the No. 3 team had lost a tiebreaker first set, but won 6-1 and 6-3 when play resumed.
“We knew before the match it was going to be one of the most critical ones,” Leland said. “Monday we came out a little bit nervous, but we were able to battle back.”
No. 2 doubles players Griffin Burns and Peter Mills made the improbable comeback.
“Our whole team performed well, especially the doubles teams,” No. 1 singles playing sophomore Alex Marcinkowski said. “The doubles teams came in as underdogs.”
Marcinkowski’s consistency trumped the conditions on Monday to lead 6-1 over Tom Geranios in the match between the GSL’s top two singles players. He polished off his foe 6-2 on Thursday.
“When weather is bad like that, I like to try and keep in play. In a sport like tennis weather is a real killer,” he said. “I was pretty nervous going in, but played really consistent and came to the net a lot to finish my points.”
He was joined by No. 2 Riley Poppy, who needed a tiebreaker to win the second set 7-6 (7-4), and No. 4 Josh Lewis for other singles victories.
And a first for CV
Central Valley, by virtue of a 4-3 decision over rival University, won its first girls tennis title since joining the Greater Spokane League in 1976-77.
“We did it!” coach Stan Chalich said of the Bears, citing comethroughs that countered unexpected setbacks.
CV finished the season unbeaten.
Lakeland frosh shoots 69
A portent of things to come, Lakeland freshman golfer Derek Bayley began his round at Coeur d’Alene Municipal with a pair of birdies.
He closed it out with three more in succession for a sizzling 69 during the Inland Empire League match.
“And two of his bogeys were three putts,” coach Mario Maddy said. “Take those out and you’re going, ‘Like wow!’ ”
“My best score ever is a 67 at Prairie Falls,” Bayley said.
“Having a ninth-grader shoot 69 on your team, you don’t complain,” deadpanned Maddy. “He’s just a generally nice kid and has a great work ethic.”
Bayley, son of longtime Lakeland football offensive coordinator and girls and boys basketball coach Mike Bayley, estimates he has been golfing since age 6 or 7. Dad played football at Whitworth and is an accomplished golfer
Derek has played Idaho junior golf for five years, winning three state titles, the first at age 10. He’s also played three years in Washington, finishing eighth and ninth in state.
At Lakeland he plays quarterback in football and also plays basketball. As a first-year varsity golfer this is the first time, he said, he picked up his clubs in March.
“My long-term goal is to get to a Division I college and play some golf and hopefully make it to the bigger levels,” Bayley said.
Hawks welcome coach
Maddy has a co-coach for the Hawks’ golf team and he’s ecstatic.
Teaching professional Patty Marquis is sharing duties with him this year.
“I think she has had a tremendous influence on our program,” he said. “She brings a perspective of playing at a high level to these kids.”
Tigers win golf
Lewis and Clark’s boys golfers had their lowest finish of the year, fourth, in the final GSL meet of the year at The Links, but captured a fourth straight league championship.
The Tigers nipped Mt. Spokane in the final standings 45.5 to 45. Central Valley was a close third at 42.5. Mt. Spokane’s Wildcats edged CV’s Bears in the match 373-374, 20-plus strokes ahead of LC.
LC girls made it seven in a row with their fourth victory in five outings and a 49 (out of 50) points. Mt. Spokane finished with 45.