Add tennis to the list of high school sports that are helping place Truckee on the map.
The Truckee boys sent a small army of players to both the Division I-A individual and team state championships this past Thursday through Saturday in Reno, where they brought home a second-place team finish and a host of top individual performances.
In doubles competition, the Wolverines had three of the four semifinalists, finishing second, third and fourth. The team of Grayson Forsberg and Aaron Pado finished runner-up to Clark's Chaitanya Ingle and Deric Pang, while Colin Gerrard and Tobie Ziegler defeated Truckee teammates Aaron Deeter and Zach Conradson - who gutted through an injured calf - in the third-place matchup.
First up was the team competition Thursday and Friday, in which Truckee entered as the No. 1 seed from the North and was pitted against The Meadows, the second seed from the South.
The Mustangs had two of the top singles seeds in the state and the No. 2 seed in doubles, setting them up to be a formidable opponent from the start.
Truckee staggered its starting lineup, hoping to get ahead early by putting its higher seeds against The Meadows' lower seeds. Truckee managed to split the first round, with Jackson Rohlf winning his singles match, 6-0. Pado and Forsberg bested the No. 2 seed, 6-3, and Conradson and Aaron Deeter downed the No. 3 seed, 6-1. The first round ended in a 3-3 tie.
The second round is where Truckee surprised The Meadows. All three doubles teams won, with Gerrard and Ziegler winning 6-0, Pado and Forsberg 6-1, and Conradson and Aaron Deeter taking down the No. 1 seed, 6-3. Truckee's Jake Kamenetsky beat Elliot Kwan 6-0 to put Truckee up 7-5 after two rounds.
In the third and final round, Truckee needed two sets to tie, three to win. Branden Deeter won his singles set against Kwan, 6-1. The now deflated No. 1 doubles seed fell 6-0 to Pado and Forsberg. Now tied, Gerrard and Ziegler's 6-1 win was all that was needed to push Truckee into the finals. Not to be denied, Conradson and Aaron Deeter added some frosting, winning 6-4 for an 11-7 team win.
Clark, which dominated the South all season, beat South Tahoe 18-0 in the semifinals to advance to the final round versus Truckee. A school of nearly 3,000, Clark moved down to the Division I-A this year because not all its programs were successful at the Division I level. Its tennis team is not one of its struggling programs, however, as the Chargers have several of the top-ranked singles players in the state.
Truckee put up quite a challenge, scoring more games against the Chargers than they had seen in their entire regionals. Branden Deeter lost 2-6 against their No. 2 seed. Kamenetsky managed three games against the same opponent. Rohlf pulled out after the first round after wrenching his back. Addison Dvoracek stepped in and faced the No. 1 seed, falling 1-6. Rohlf did come back in the third round, playing the best match of his career against a tough challenger, coming up a break short 3-6.
The strength and depth of the Wolverines' doubles helped keep them in contention. The early matchups pitted Clark's top doubles team against Pado and Forsberg. Quite evenly matched, a break in the final game gave Truckee the win, 7-5. Conradson and Deeter also edged Clark 7-5. Gerrard and Ziegler completed the doubles sweep with a 6-1 win, leading Truckee to a 3-3 tie after the first round.
The second round put Clark's No. 1 seed up against Gerrard and Ziegler, which Truckee lost 3-6. After the other two doubles teams won, Truckee moved to the final round down 5-7. Pado and Forsberg won all three sets on the day, finishing with a 6-0 win over the No. 3 seed.
Gerrard and Ziegler faced the team they would ultimately meet in the individual tournament later that day. They took out the No. 2 seed, 6-4. The real battle was on court two, as Conradson and Aaron Deeter fought against Clark's No. 1 seed to a 6-6 tie, then won the tiebreaker 7-5.
It wasn't enough, however, as the Chargers won the state championship 11 sets to 7. It was the best battle Clark had seen all year and marked Truckee's best-ever finish at state.
The four top-seeded doubles teams in the state moved on to the semifinal round on Saturday.
Pado and Grayson Forsberg breezed 6-2, 6-0 in the best-of-three sets to face their own teammates, Gerrard and Ziegler, after their 6-0, 6-4 win. Pado and Forsberg advanced to the finals after winning 6-2, 6-1.
Conradson and Aaron Deeter had to take on the No. 1 seed from The Meadows in the quarterfinal round. Conradson had strained his calf muscle in the second set, after winning the first set 6-3. The Meadows took advantage and won the second set, 6-4. Conradson's limited movement was compensated for by his height and reach. Still formidable at net, and with Aaron Deeter covering ground in the backcourt, the Truckee duo advanced after a grueling 2 1/2-hour match, ending with a 6-4 win in the third set.
Clark's doubles team advanced to the final round against Pado and Forsberg, after losing only one game in 10 sets during regionals. The first set was a physical battle, with Pado challenging their net game with shots down the line and Forsberg crushing balls at net. The first set went to a 6-6 tiebreaker, with Clark's Ingle and Pang edging Truckee, 8-6. Clark won the second set 6-0, handing Pado and Forsberg their second loss of the season. Their runner-up state finish is the best of any Truckee player ever.
But the real battle was for third place.
Conradson and Aaron Deeter were pitted against their teammates, Gerrard and Ziegler. Conradson and Deeter took the first set 6-2, but Conradson's strained muscle started to slow him down. Gerrard and Ziegler were hitting their spots and came back in the second set to win 7-5.
For a second time in two days, Conradson and Deeter were in a three-set battle that went all the way to a tiebreaker. The two teams were so evenly matched that the "first to seven" point tiebreaker pushed into the third hour and went to a 5-5 point tie before Gerrard and Ziegler managed to put the last two points away, giving them third place.
"We could not be more proud of our team, both those that pressed on into the tournaments and the larger team that helped get us here," said Truckee coach Rick Deeter. "We've put Truckee on the map for tennis and added some hardware to the trophy case for the school."