South Whidbey boys tennis players blocked from state tourney

South Whidbey sent six players to the quad-district boys tennis tournament. All six came home empty-handed the same day Wednesday after being denied a state 1A tournament berth.

No Falcons made it past the third round. The fourth round was the state-qualifying tier. Only senior Guy Sparkman won his first-round match and advanced to the third round. Both of South Whidbey’s doubles teams were eliminated in the second round after winning one game combined in the first round.

Top Falcon doubles tandem of senior Taylor Simmons and sophomore Jonathon Peterson was dropped by Seattle Academy’s Max Schoenfeld and Connor Rice, 6-1, 6-0. It was a letdown after Simmons and Peterson challenged Schoenfeld and Rice earlier this year in a 6-3, 6-3 loss.

Simmons and Peterson dropped a three-set match, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, in the second round. Cascade Christian’s Shawn Spencer and Josh Sayler outlasted the Falcons.

South Whidbey’s other senior-sophomore duo was also quickly bumped to the consolation bracket. Mitchell Hughes and Charley Stelling lost 6-0, 6-0 to Charles Wright Academy’s Teddy Grenly and Phillip Grenly, the reigning state 1A doubles champions. The Grenly brothers went on to win the quad-district doubles title, while losing only three games total. Overlake’s Mac Hewitt and Prahav Harikrishanan eliminated Hughes and Stelling in the second round, 6-1, 6-0.

Singles players from South Whidbey didn’t fare much better. Falcon junior Jack Hood was knocked off in the second round after losses to Charles Wright Academy’s Austin Kelley (6-0, 6-1) and Bush School’s Nicholas Marchi (6-2, 6-0).

Sparkman, South Whidbey’s top player, battled for his only playoff win in the first round. Against Overlake’s Grant Gibson, Sparkman rallied from a loss in the first set, 4-6, to win the next sets, 6-2, 6-1. Winning was a turnaround for Sparkman from losses to Gibson earlier this season.

The second-round match was much faster, but at Sparkman’s expense. University Prep’s Bayard Blair won 6-2, 6-4. In the consolation bracket, Sparkman faced Marchi, and despite a second-set rally attempt, lost 6-2, 7-5.

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