Tennis players are state champions

"Had they not been paying attention while tournament officials were totaling up the team scores at Saturday's 2A state girls tennis tournament, South Whidbey's three-girl contingent might have easily packed up their racquets and started the drive home before the awards ceremony.It was a good thing that they didn't. Boosted by Lindsay Sievers' fifth-place finish in singles play, and a sixth-place doubles performance by Megan Forbes and Jenny Saephan, the Falcons won their first-ever 2A state tournament in Yakima Saturday. Forbes said she had no idea that her team had a chance at first place until tournament officials announced their winning score.I don't think it really sunk in at first, she said.But when it did, all three players ran across the tennis complex and gave themselves a well-deserved break from the Yakima heat by diving into a nearby pool -- while still wearing their uniforms. There was no better way to celebrate, Forbes said.Though they did not vie for an individual title, South Whidbey's girls tallied 11 team points as powerhouse teams like Stevenson and Cashmere saw their singles and doubles players knocked out of scoring contention. The championship left even veteran Falcon coach Tom Kramer a bit stunned.So we kinda surprised a few people, Kramer said. The championship -- which is the Falcon's third in the past 12 years -- came through several long, hot matches. To earn her placing in singles, Lindsay Sievers had to play the longest match of her life. In the first round, Sievers played Pullman's Mychaelanne Wiemann in a 3-hour, 7-6 (13-11), 5-7, 6-2 under a cloudless, windless, 75-degree sky. She paid for the win with tired legs and hitting arm.I was really exhausted, Sievers said.Just one hour after finishing this marathon, Sievers had to go back on the court to play an Ephrata opponent. Still tired, Sievers said she could not play her best tennis during what became a 3-6, 6-7 (7-5) loss. Though physically recovered by Saturday, Sievers met up with last year's state champion, Katie Leipheiser of Stevenson, in a third round match. Leipheiser never let Sievers close enough to play for the win, ending her season with a straight-sets 6-4, 6-4 win. In doubles action, Jenny Saephan's and Megan Forbes' first round match Friday looked a bit like Sievers' first, only this time South Whidbey wound up on the thin end of the racquet. Against Cashmere's Piper and Green -- who were returning state champions -- Saephan and Forbes could only stay close, eventually falling 7-5, 4-6, 3-6But the pair came back later in the day to pick up their lone win, beating Stevenson's Barrasse and Wisecarver 6-0, 6-3. The win proved to be more important than they knew at the time, because it knocked Stevenson out of contention for the team title. In their final match, Saephan and Forbes just lost out to a Ridgefield pairing on a 5-7, 6-0, 6-7 (7-5) performance. That did not matter so much to Saephan. The sophomore said she has come further this season than she hoped for during the pre-season. Way back in March, she was not even sure she would make the team. Making state was a dream-like occurrence.It was a good experience for me, she said. Coach Kramer said the three girls played well against what was the toughest competition they had seen all year.I think all three girls played really gutsy matches, he said.South Whidbey won back-to-back state championships at the 1A level in 1988 and 1989. The team was a runner up in 1987.."

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