It was only fitting that Truckee boys tennis players add some individual hardware to their regional title.
The Wolverines will be well represented in both the team and individual state championship tournaments in Las Vegas this week after their top doubles and singles players battled their way through the Northern Region Division I-A Individual Championships at Tahoe Donner.
Truckee’s No. 2 doubles team of Teagan Pado and Colin Gerrard edged Truckee’s No. 1 team of Aaron Deeter and Ethan Gotts in Saturday’s finals, sending both pairs to state. Meanwhile in singles play, Truckee’s Nico Gardella and Toby Ziegler also punched their tickets to compete in the individual state championship as 2 and 3 seeds.
They’ll be joined by their Truckee teammates at the Darling Tennis Center and Bishop Manogue High School in Las Vegas. The team championship begins Thursday and concludes Saturday. Individual championships start Friday and continue with semifinals and finals Saturday.
In all, the Wolverines sent three singles and three doubles teams to the individual regional championships — a week after defeating South Tahoe for the team title. The strong contingent led to one of Truckee’s best, most hard-fought performances across the board in years, particularly in the doubles bracket.
In singles play, Truckee’s top seed, Gardella, cruised to the championship match with wins over Fallon’s Stadtman, 6-0, 6-0, and South Tahoe’s Marin, 6-1, 6-1. South Tahoe’s No. 1 seed, Chad Kaassamani, dominated his way through the other side of the bracket. That set up a finals match between Kaassamani and Gardella, in which Kaassamani won 6-2, 6-0 for the title.
Truckee’s No. 3 seed, Toby Ziegler, who lost to Gardella 2-6, 5-7 in the semifinal round, faced North Tahoe’s Ethan Faye in the third-place match. Faye won his first two matches and lost to Kaassamani in the semis. Ziegler won the third-place match, 6-3, 6-3. He’ll enter the individual state championship as the North’s No. 3 seed while Faye will compete as the No. 4 seed.
Zach Yamauchi filled in for Addison Dvoracek as Truckee’s No. 2 seed heading into the tournament. He won his first-round match 6-4, 6-2 before falling to Faye, 5-7, 1-6, in the quarterfinals.
The doubles bracket was much more hotly contested from the early rounds.
Truckee’s third-seeded doubles team went down to the wire against South Tahoe’s No. 3, falling shy 4-6 in the first set only to fight back and win the second-set tiebreaker 7-5. South Tahoe took the third set 6-4, sending the Vikings into the semifinals against Truckee’s divisional No. 1 seed, Deeter and Gotts.
Deeter and Gotts triumphed in three sets, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, to advance to the finals.
On the other side of the bracket, Gerrard and Pado faced stiff competition from South Tahoe’s No. 1 seed, seniors Colton McHugh and Kyle Swain. After losing the first set in a tiebreaker, the second set also went to a tiebreaker, with Truckee coming out on top. The third set saw Truckee get up a break and maintain it to a 6-3 victory.
In their semifinal match, Gerrard and Pado faced Fallon’s No. 1 team, Martin Beyer and Tyler Wood. Once again, the Truckee duo fell behind by losing the first set 3-6 before coming back to win the second set 6-1. The third set went to a 5-5 tie before Gerrard and Pado managed to finish strong and win 7-5.
That pitted Truckee’s two top doubles teams against each other in the final match for the regional title.
Gotts came out strong with some impressive net play, and solid service returns by Deeter gave the two the edge in the first set, 6-4. The second sets was a downright battle, especially at the net. Some exchanges went through eight to 10 volleys before being put away. Nearly every game went to deuce. Deeter and Gotts went ahead early in the tiebreaker, but Gerrard and Pado fought back to win the second-set tiebreaker 7-5.
That sent the four Truckee players into a third and final set.
Side after side broke the other team’s serve with outstanding baseline play and several huge overhead smashes. When the dust settled, it was a nail-biter again. Tied 6-6, the championship was to be decided by a seven-point tiebreaker. It was all even at 2-2 when Gerrard and Pado managed to get the upper hand and win the final game 7-2.
To fully grasp the intensity of play, Deeter and Gotts played 78 games and Gerrard and Pado played 100 games in 24 hours.
While the Truckee doubles teams secured the North’s top two seeds, South Tahoe’s Morgan Petragallo and Gabriel Tenocelot earned the No. 3 seed and Beyer and Wood of Fallon the No. 4 seed.
In the girls regional championship, sophomore Anne Schrage of Incline won the singles title by defeating South Tahoe’s Maggie Lee, 7-5, 6-1. In doubles, Fallon’s Josie Bekiares and Hannah Lindsay won the title with a win over South Tahoe’s Grace Bronken and Sarah Jobbins, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.