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Mercer Island boys end five year district title drought | Prep tennis
For the last five years the Mercer Island boys tennis team has done well, making state appearances and winning big matches. But in all that time, they came just short of winning the SeaKing district title. The drought is over after the Islanders took the district title on Wednesday afternoon with 30 points. Second place went to Seattle Prep with 17 points.
"It hasn't been done in five years," said head coach Jaime Dieveney. The Islanders qualified two singles players and two doubles players for next week's state tournament, held in the Tri Cities. While the boys tennis season begins in the fall, the final rounds of the season are played in the spring.
Jordan Smith took second overall, losing to Reid DeLaubenfeld, from Nathan Hale, in the championship match 6-2, 7-5. Zack Elliot finished in fifth place, earning the final singles berth to state.
"It went really well. The boys competed well and came out hard," said Dieveney. "I am seeing more team unity and a team that is starting to form and it's fun to see."
In the doubles competition, Jared Thomas and Andrew Smith qualified for state after losing in the semifinals to Evan Beckman and Drew Beckman. Erik Snyder and Jeremy Chow also lost their semifinal round to Sammamish's Andrew Nguyen and Benny Tran.
"They were having fun," said Dieveney of the team. "Overall I was seeing smiles and laughter, even though they were playing some very tough matches."
Dieveney said the Islanders third doubles team, David Peck and Derek Newhoff were close to making the next round.
"David and Derek were very close to a big upset," said the coach. "I was so psyched to seem them playing like that."
The team will now prepare for the state tournament, beginning May 27 in the Tri Cities.
"Once again there will need to be a strong team effort," said Dieveney on what the team will need to focus on. "The doubles team will have a lot on their shoulders. They will need to step up. Sometimes I think they play more like singles players playing doubles, rather than a doubles team. If they can embrace it as a team, I think they will have more success."
In the first round of the tournament, Elliot will take on Jordan Richardson from Lakes, while Smith will take on Rob Benedict from Columbia River.
In the doubles state tournament, Snyder and Chow will face a team from Mountain View, while Thomas and Smith will take on a duo from Kennedy.
The state tournament bracket is available online.