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Racqueteers on the cusp of a special season
Boys eager for Metro gold; girls have state title aspirations.
The turnout for the Bainbridge tennis team was decent enough to make up three teams, but in the 14 years Mike Anderson has been the head coach at Bainbridge, he has never had a team with this much talent.
“We lost some critical seniors – especially for the boys – but we more than make up for it with some kids coming back with experience and some new faces,” Anderson said.
This season, both teams have high aspirations as they do battle in a tough league and district.
Last season the team went 10-2 and tied with Seattle Prep for first place in the Metro League Mountain Division. Bainbridge had beat them in the regular season for the first time since the Spartans’ arrival in the Metro League but lost a playoff to the Panthers for the division title.
On the individual side, Sasha Carter won a 3A state title in girls’ singles while the girls’ doubles team of Grace Porter and Kate Jamison placed fifth.
Those results also earned the team a second place trophy at state, the first time in 20 years a team from the island had placed that high.
All three state participants are back with several other players who have varsity experience.
Several other players have also played in United States Tennis Association tournaments over the offseason. In all, 11 players on the Bainbridge team are listed in the local rankings, with Carter leading the way as the third ranked player for the USTA Pacific Northwest girls’ champs 18-year-old age group. Anderson said it’s the most ranked players he has ever had on the team.
While Carter comes back as the favorite to repeat as champion (she’s lost only one match in her prep career,) Anderson said she can handle the pressure and the competition.
“I think she’s confident she can win it,” he said. “She’s got a good chance to win again.”
Porter, a co-captain with fellow seniors Scott Alderson and Sam Claney, said she is also feeling the pressure of breaking the school record for wins by a tennis player, currently held by 2005 graduate Whitney Cheng.
At 71-13, Porter needs 17 more wins to eclipse Cheng’s record of 88-13.
“That (the record) is kind of stressful,” she said. “I have to get a lot of matches in to get the wins, so I’ll be playing at every opportunity. But it’s exciting. I definitely want to get the record.”
Along with the returning trio, seniors Tessa Leachman, Isabella Stallworthy and Lauren Hill return for the girls’ team along with junior Kelly Zwicker.
Two newcomers that Anderson feels will contribute on the varsity side are junior Sadie Dedon and freshman Jordan Ferguson.
On the boys’ team, Alderson and Claney make up a solid squad.
Senior Forrest Rynearson, juniors Jack Pendleton and Ryan Bieber and sophomores Jacob Christensen and Mark Scott also return. Freshman Matt Alderson and Keet Curtis are two newcomers that will play a big part on the varsity.
It’s a team that Alderson is happy to be a part of.
“When I was a freshman, I was playing number two singles and another freshman was playing number three singles – we had such a young team and a rough year,” he said. “This year it’s really nice to have a really strong team.”
While Alderson said the goal for the boys’ team is to win the Metro tournament, Anderson is hoping to get a few players to state for the first time since 2002.
Porter said the girls’ team has its sights set on a state title.“We’re really excited for the postseason, but it’s such a nerve-wracking time of year because you want to be the best,” she said.
Senior co-captain Scott Alderson wants to lead the boys' team to a Metro League title and possibly make it to state. John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo