The 73rd annual Inland Empire Tennis Tournament concluded Saturday evening after two days of nonstop tennis action across Spokane.
This year’s tournament had 52 schools and nearly 800 athletes competing in 12 different events.
Mead took home the team title with 163 points, just ahead of second-place Gonzaga Prep with 158 points.
The two top finishers for the Panthers were Edward Liu and Katie Kuka who both finished third in No. 1 singles in their respective brackets.
Gonzaga Prep had the top single player in freshman Callah Preti who beat Cashmere’s Aleah Kert 2-6, 6-3, 10-7. The No. 1 singles championship match didn’t start well for Preti, who lost the first set 2-6. But two inspiring sets later and Preti defeated Kert.
Kert was the top-seeded singles player at the Tournament and finished fourth place last season in the 1B/2B/1A state tournament.
Preti has spent the season in the No. 1 slot for the Bullpups, helping lead them to third place in the Greater Spokane League behind Lewis and Clark and Mead.
Two GSL tennis powerhouses faced off in the No. 1 singles consolation round with Katie Kuka and Katie Smithgall representing Mead and University respectively.
Both girls were all-GSL last season, but Kuka beat Smithgall 6-3, 6-3.
It took a 16-14 win in the third set for top-seeded Yasmina Qazi and Kaylynn Noyd of Wenatchee to knock off Madelyn Dibble and Carolyn Johnson of Lewis and Clark.
The Tigers’ pairing won the first set 6-2, but the Panthers prevailed in the final sets 6-4 and 16-14.
Noyd took fourth place in 4A state doubles last season with a different partner and Qazi was a state qualifier for singles.
Sophomore Dibble played in her first Inland Empire after transferring to Spokane from Virginia. Head coach Eric Woodard said she had a chance to be one of the best players in the city and thus far, she is proving it.
University’s fourth-seeded pairing of Maygan Osborn and Sophie Orndorff narrowly lost 8-7 to third-seeded Milena Stankovic and Siena Stephens of Hanford.
Orndorff and Osborn have anchored the No. 1 doubles spot for the defending GSL champ-Titans this season.
Cashmere’s Sky Larson swept Hanford’s Kathryn Yang 6-0, 6-0 in the No. 2 singles championship game.
Larson beat Mead’s Zoe Milatz in the semifinals on her way to the title while Yang defeated Lydia Jurgens of Newport.
Sophomore’s Milatz and Jurgens battled in the No. 2 singles third place game with first-team all-GSL Milatz taking the victory 6-2, 6-0.
In the No. 2 doubles championship game, the top-seeded Lewis and Clark team of Abigail Ward and Nicole Resamovic defeated University’s Nicola Stachofsky and Olympic racquetball player Megan Carver 6-2, 6-3.
The Titans’ pairing was the third-seeded team and they took out Mead 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals of the bracket.
Sophomore’s Ward and Resanovic also beat Central Valley with a score of 6-2, 6-2 in the other semifinal game.
Mead’s No. 2 doubles team was senior Julia Meyer and sophomore Phoebe Milatz. They beat senior Elise Brockbank and junior Gisele Stockman 6-3, 6-3 to win third place.
It was a non-Spokane final for the No. 1 singles matchup as Wenatchee’s top-seeded Jack Yount defeated second-seeded Cade Edwards of Hanford 6-3, 6-0.
The consolation round was a different story with Mead and Gonzaga Prep going up against each other. Panthers’ Edward Liu, the fourth seed, fell to the Bullpups’ Tyler Timperman, the third-seed.
It was quite the encounter with Tiperman winning 7-5, 6-7 (7-4), 10-7 to take third place.
The No. 1 doubles went three sets as Okanogan’s Max Cheeseman and Jay Nearents took down top-seeded Nathan Webster and Robbie Fiocchi of Kennewick 4-6, 6-2, 10-4.
Gonzaga Prep won No. 2 singles behind second-seeded Marcello Scudiero beating top-seeded Angelo Bravo 6-3, 4-6, 10-8.
Scudiero gave the Bullpups their second win over the tournament.
Another Spokane area matchup brewed in the No. 2 singles consolation round as Mead’s Kyle Kuka, the third-seed, defeated Jackson Scott by a score of 6-1, 6-1.
Cashmere and West Valley (Yakima) met in the finals of the No. 2 doubles bracket and it was Cashmere who took the win.
Huber Farias and Ryan Cooper toppled Kai Griffiths and Caden Rubright 6-0, 6-3. Both teams were unseeded, the only matchup in the tournament where the championship round was between two teams not seeded.