Hank Papritz and Ryan Wenzek are once again in limbo following the class 1A Bi-District Tournament this past weekend.
Papritz and Wenzek, both seniors, placed third at the state qualifying tournament on Oct. 20-21 at Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle and are alternates to the 1A state boys tennis championships in May. Only the top two teams at the tournament, which included South Whidbey and teams from the Emerald City League, advanced to state.
The pair were also state alternates in 2016, though they’re hoping a team will drop out between now and May so they can have a chance to continue their season. Wenzek has no regrets about the tournament.
“I think I played some of the best tennis of my life,” Wenzek said. “So did Hank.”
Papritz and Wenzek were seeded second in the tournament and received a bye in the first round. They beat Nachiket Karmarkar and Zander Gillett of Overlake 7-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, but lost to Wilson Moiser and Michael Yang of University Prep 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals.
They beat Seattle Academy’s Dimitri Vladimir and Will Sieler in an elimination match 6-4, 6-4, then claimed third with a 6-4, 6-4 over Wesley Chan and Charlie Hill of Overlake.
The rest of the Falcon squad ran into tough competition. South Whidbey junior singles player Brent DeWolf won his opening round match 6-2, 6-3 over Bear Creek’s Jackson Lambert, but was shutout by the eventual runner-up, Ezra Magaram, in the quarterfinals. He was eliminated by Ananth Iyer 6-0, 6-1 of Overlake in the consolation bracket.
It was DeWolf’s first experience at the bi-district tournament after playing two years on junior varsity. He said he learned a lot from the opportunity and hopes it will pay dividends next year as a senior.
“I didn’t come in expecting to win the game, but I still tried my best,” DeWolf said.
Sophomore Levi Buck got a bye in the first round, but suffered two losses and was eliminated. South Whidbey’s other doubles team, seniors Aengus Dubendorf and Larsen Christiansen, were eliminated after losing in the first round.
Despite the losses, head coach Karyle Kramer said it was the best tennis she’s seen the Falcons play at a postseason tournament over the past five years.
“They all had what I think of as mini successes,” Kramer said. “They played solid, good tennis.”
Kramer said it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that Papritz and Wenzek could advance; two alternates from the bi-district have made it to state in the past three years. One of them was Kody Newman in 2016, who went onto place fourth in the state as a freshman.