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Beam tops Hansen for title
"As predicted, both Bainbridge boys singles tennis players are going to this weekend's state tournament.But in perhaps the mildest of surprises, sophomore Elliot Beam will be the district's top seed, as he beat senior teammate Erik Hansen in the district final, 6-3, 6-2.Elliot played very, very well, and made fewer errors, Spartan coach Mike Anderson said. He may have been playing more weekend tournaments this year. He's played some pretty good competition.Hansen and Beam played as the Sparts' No. 1 and No. 2 singles players respectively this season, and dominated Olympic League play. Hansen lost one match, and Beam was unbeaten in the league. But they never actually played each other, Anderson said, because Beam did not challenge Hansen for ladder position.Hansen rebounded from the loss to post an easy 6-0, 6-1 win in the consolation finals and move into the state tournament. But going into the state tournament as the district's second seed gives Hansen a tough row to hoe. Hansen's first opponent will be Mercer Island's freshman phenomenon Chris Floyd, the top seed from the talent-rich greater Seattle district. Here's how tough the Seattle district was. Last year, Mercer Island sophomore Chad Dierickx took Bainbridge's Charles Thompson to three tough sets in the championship match. Logically, that close second-place finish might mark Dierickx as this year's tournament favorite. But Dierickx could manage no better than a sixth-place finish in districts, falling behind his teammate Floyd and several other talented newcomers.Bainbridge's other district entrants played maddeningly close matches, but couldn't quite break through to qualify for the state tourney. The boys' doubles team of Willie Storch and freshman Sam Marshall dropped their first-round match to a team from Washington High School. They came back Saturday against that same team in the consolation bracket, and this time turned the tables, winning 6-3,6-3. In the consolation finals, they lost a heartbreaking first set 7-5, then dropped the second set 6-3.That match was decided by just a couple of points, Anderson said. If those points that went against them had gone the other way, they could be in the state tournament.The Bainbridge girls had similarly close calls. The doubles team of Jessica Antilla and Kristen Carmel, who had won their first two matches on Thursday, dropped a 6-4, 6-3 match to the district-champion Clover Park team Saturday morning. In the consolation bracket, they lost another close match to the White River pair, 6-4, 7-5.Antilla was suffering from a lower back strain that limited her mobility. That's not to make excuses, Anderson said, but the matches were so close, you think that if she had been 100 percent, it might have been different. Anna-Lisa Brieland, who has been playing doubles all year, made a good showing in singles, but came up a bit short. She dropped a 7-6, 6-3 match Friday morning. The first set went to a 7-5 tiebreaker.That set was so even, Anderson said. You had a feeling that whoever won the first set would win the match, and that's what happened. But she did a great job moving into singles play and showing as well as she did."