Alex Marcinkowski of Gonzaga Prep and Leslie Ho of Central Valley both reached the State 4A tennis tournament a year ago, although neither placed.
Each is a step away from a return trip after winning the boys and girls singles titles in this past week’s district tournament.
Marcinkowski, who dominated the Greater Spokane League all spring, beat Tom Geranios of Ferris, 6-1, 6-1 in the championship match Thursday, and both advance to play in next week’s regional tournament beginning Friday.
Marcinkowski, meanwhile, is certain to be the No. 1 seed in singles in the regional tournament.
Ho recovered from a first-set loss to defeat Mead’s Chelsea Motzer in the girls final, 3-6, 7-6, 6-1.
Seeded third entering the tournament, Lewis and Clark’s Luke Brittan and Jordan Strandness avenged a loss to top-seeded T.J. Westre and Noah Schwab in the doubles semifinals at the Inland Empire tournament to claim the district doubles crown in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
Westre and Schwab both played singles during the regular season for the Panthers and teamed up to play doubles at the Inland Empire tournament for the first time.
In the girls doubles final, Central Valley’s Samantha Block and Charlotte Schmitz were a straight-set winner over Haley Strandness and Rachel Smith, 6-0, 6-4.
Mt. Spokane claimed both finalists in the 3A district tournament, where Connor Larkin knocked off Caleb Deibel, 7-5, 6-3 in the final.
In the girls singles final, Shadle Park’s Sarah Letsch knocked off University’s Sena Burchak, 6-4, 6-4, to claim the No. 1 seed into next week’s regional.
In the doubles final Katie Rohr and Jessi Barth won an all-U-Hi final to claim the top two regional berths. Barth reached the state tournament a year ago with teammate Lauren Archibald.
The 4A regionals will be at Central Valley and the 3A at University.
In Idaho, the bet would have to be that Lake City’s Luke Ness and Lewiston’s Rafa Hewett-Steiger will play several times over the next few weeks.
Ness, a 6-foot-7 senior who reached the finals of the Inland Empire tournament last month, lost to Hewett-Steiger in last year’s state championship match, 6-4, 6-2.
For Hewett-Steiger, a junior, the victory marked Lewiston’s first state tennis title.
The regional tournament concludes today at Lake City and Coeur d’Alene high schools, qualifying three singles, doubles and mixed doubles teams into next week’s state tournament in Boise.
Ness transferred to Lake City from Billings West High School in Montana before starting his junior year.
Lake City’s Matt Finney also entered the district tournament on a roll after winning the No. 2 singles title at the Inland Empire tourney.
Hoping for big finish
Medical Lake tennis coach LeRoy McMaster hopes the Cardinals’ final season in Class 2A will have a strong finish.
The last time Medical Lake sent anyone to the state tournament was in 2008. This year, the Cardinals figure to have two solid shots at making it with a trio of seniors who are all three-year letter-winners.
Blake Andrews is Great Northern League’s the No. 2 seed in boys singles, behind only Ryan Adams of Clarkston, who placed fifth at last year’s State 2A tournament.
The doubles team of Ismael Teshome and Jake Wessellman also aims at earning a state tournament berth.
“Those three guys have been the backbone of the program,” LeMaster said. “Once those three graduate, we’re going to be back in a rebuilding mode. On top of that, we drop to Class 1A next year, so it’s going to take some adjusting for us again.”