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Samantha Block, left, and Charlotte Schmitz are close friends who will represent Central Valley at state. (Jesse Tinsley)

GSL group headed to State 4A tennis

Jordan Strandness never wanted to play tennis.

So how the Lewis and Clark freshman wound up state-tournament bound with senior sister Hayley is, in the tennis world, what you might call a fault.

“My mom signed me up for a camp and forced me to go,” Jordan said. “I was actually pretty mad about it.”

His disapproval has obviously turned around, as Jordan and freshman partner Luke Brittan will represent the Tigers and the Greater Spokane League as the lone boys doubles team at the State 4A tournament in the Tri-Cities Friday and Saturday.

Hayley and senior partner Rachel Smith are in the girls doubles field, along with Central Valley’s Samantha Block and Charlotte Schmitz.

“We played our qualifying matches side-by-side at districts and regionals, and that was really cool to be able to look over at one another and root for each other,” Hayley said. “Neither of us thought we would make it to state, so I’m really happy to share it with him.”

The siblings, not unlike any other brother and sister, weren’t always happy to share these moments.

“We used to get really mad when we played against each other,” said Jordan. “Then we played a mixed doubles match together and it was very interesting … maybe a little heart-wrenching. It’s a lot more fun now when we play.”

Boys singles: Gonzaga Prep junior Alex Marcinkowski was happy to qualify for state his freshman and sophomore years. Now, he’s looking for more.

“I’m looking to compete this year,” he said. “I know a lot of people in the bracket from USTA tournaments, so I know what to expect.”

Ferris’ Tom Geranios is also in the boys singles field, on the same side of the bracket as Marcinkowski.

Girls singles: Central Valley’s Leslie Ho is the top seed out of the region, and will be joined by Mead senior Chelsea Motzer – who only lost to Ho during the regular season and is making her third straight trip to state.

Motzer, who qualified for state in doubles the past two years, was a key player on the Panthers’ undefeated GSL and district championship team this season.