Sports Roundup -- Cheng wins opening matches/Middle schoolers claim LAX crown/Ill winds blow for sailors at regatta

Cheng wins opening matches

Bainbridge senior tennis player Whitney Cheng got off on the right foot in state tournament play yesterday, winning her first two matches.

“I was a little bit nervous at first, but I just had to power through,” Cheng said.

Taking the early commuter boat to Seattle and with a handful of Bainbridge students in attendance for support, Cheng made her way to the Nordstrom Tennis Complex, nestled under the shadow of Husky Stadium at the University of Washington, for her opening round game against Rachel Burns of Mark Morris.

In control the whole way, Cheng took the first set with only one loss, but faced a variety of shots from the consistent Burns, the number three seed from District 3 in the second.

She nevertheless overpowered Burns to claim the match 6-1, 6-2.

“Getting through the first match is always the toughest,” said coach Mike Anderson of first round jitters being a norm for all of the players. “I thought Whitney handled it well.”

Cheng then pounded out a two-set win against Penelope Crowe, a second seed from Bellingham, in her second-round match, 6-0, 6-0.

Crowe, who lost only two matches in league play coming into the tourney, took second in her district.

Cheng now has a 10 a.m. semifinal start Saturday, with a berth in the 1 p.m. final at stake. On a 31-game win streak that goes back to last year, Cheng needs two more for the championship.

– T.F. Smeeth

Middle schoolers claim LAX crown

Last Saturday was a day in the sun for the Bainbridge middle school lacrosse team, which won its second state title at Qwest Field, beating Issaquah 5-4 in overtime.

“They started out in the wet and cold of the Battle Point sand fields in February and January, with barely any skills,” said their coach, Dennis Sutter.

“Then in the ultimate turnaround, they got to finish in entirely opposite circumstances. They played on a sunny day and showed off their skills in a good lacrosse game.”

The overtime win was capped by a goal by Ross Cobb on an assist by Charlie Knight, whose brother Clayton played for the Spartan varsity. “And his mom is our go-to parent,” said coach Sutter.

The Bainbridge seventh- and eighth- graders had to win three in a row, beating Vashon Island, University Place and North Seattle, to get to the final against Issaquah. Bainbridge had skimmed by the Eagles in an earlier exhibition game that was also close, 8-7.

Even though it was a tight game, everyone on the team got significant field time.

“Such is the depth of our squad,” Sutter said. “It’s hard to single out any individual player. They all performed well.”

The coach credited the Bainbridge defensive play as being instrumental in the game. Bryce Stevenson got the win at goalkeeper, making numerous saves to keep the game close.

“Any time you hold a team of their caliber to four goals, the defense is working well together,” Sutter said.

En route to their repeat championship, Bainbridge posted a 9-1 overall record.

– T.F. Smeeth

Ill winds blow for sailors at regatta

Bainbridge High School returned Memorial Day from the Team Racing Championship, falling short in their quest for the Baker Trophy at Jensen Beach, Fla.

The regatta was held at the U.S. Sailing Center, Martin County, in 24, 420-class sailboats. Only 12 school teams from around the country were eligible by their district win/loss record to compete, and the skill level was outstanding.

The weather was hot but the breeze favorable, and the efficient race committee managed to complete about 60 races on Saturday and 45 more on Sunday.

A qualifier round-robin, where the teams each sail all the boats, was run first to separate the teams into top and bottom halves.

Next came a double round-robin in each half, and finally the fleets were separated by their records into three divisions: gold, which raced for the trophy, silver and bronze.

The Bainbridge sailors had many races in which they were leading for part of the way, but were trapped at the windward, windward offset or leeward marks and sent to a losing combination.

Their windward work was nonetheless fairly good, and they recovered to win on the last windward leg in one instance.

Bainbridge finished with a 2-16 win-loss record for the regatta.

Winner Point Loma, Calif., finished with an outstanding 16-2 record, and Antilles, V.I. was second.

Sailing in Florida, a venue so different from the Northwest, was a terrific educational experience for the Bainbridge team, and the members expressed gratitude for assistance they received to help them reach their goal of representing the Northwest district there.

Competing for Bainbridge were captains Garrett Linrothe and George Fleischfresser, Molly Jackson, Jenny Erickson, Robbie Osterman, Carl Shorett, Pat Layton, Adrian Mason and Emma Hartmann.

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