Sports

Frosh phenom Newman headed to state finals

Riley Newman will be the first-ever freshman to play for South Whidbey in the state tennis finals in Yakima next May. He was named to the Northwest Conference first team after losing in the final round to Will Topp of Sehome. - Jeff VanDerford
Riley Newman will be the first-ever freshman to play for South Whidbey in the state tennis finals in Yakima next May. He was named to the Northwest Conference first team after losing in the final round to Will Topp of Sehome.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

For the first time in Tom Kramer’s 30 years as South Whidbey’s tennis coach, a freshman will represent the school at the state finals in Yakima.

Riley Newman took second place at district finals Oct. 19, losing only to Sehome’s Will Topp 6-4, 6-4. The state finals are May 24-25.

“Topp is a solid player,” Kramer said. “Riley started strong but couldn’t stay the distance. Though he’s a very good player, Riley needs to work on advancing his game if he wants to win at this level.”

It won’t be their last meeting — Topp is a freshman as well.

“I beat him the first four games but he came back to take six straight,” Newman explained.

“I attacked at first then switched to defense; when I turn that switch, it starts to go bad. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and we both have the same style of play.”

Newman will go out for the Falcon basketball and baseball teams next but expects to enter a few winter tournaments to stay in the groove for tennis.

He knows he’ll face Topp many more times in the years ahead.

“I plan to get taller and stronger but I imagine he will, too,” Newman said. “I don’t look forward to seeing him again but I suppose it will force me to improve.”

During the regular season, Topp was the only player who bested Newman, at Sehome recently.

To get to the finals, Riley dominated the competition — first overcoming Zach Perther of Anacortes 6-0, 6-2, then beating Evan Mandell from Bellingham 6-3, 6-0.

Overall, the boys team went 11-4, and the Falcons claimed fourth in the Northwest Conference. Newman was named to the all-conference first team.

“This was one of my best teams in six years, a group of young men who improved markedly over the season,” Kramer said.

Sean Hough and Matt Idso placed fifth in doubles, losing 6-3, 6-1 to Sehome’s Ron Geller and George Koenig in the semi-finals.

Geller and Koenig also beat Falcons Jeff Potter and Grant Neubauer 6-1, 6-1.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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