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Newport doubles pairs, Interlake's Garnett, Forest Ridge's Lui lead state title hopefuls to tennis court | Prep sports news
For the past three seasons, Newport's boys tennis team has faced little resistance.
The Knights, winners of the past two 4A state team scoring championships, dominated the KingCo slate again during the fall and will send a group of seven players to this weekend's 4A state tournament.
Even at state, it is likely their most formidable competition will come from some recognizable faces.
Coach Ron Coleman will send three doubles pairs to state, along with the 4A KingCo singles champion in Jason Lui, and it is possible Newport will once again be home to the state champion before the final match is played.
Dylan Harlow and Matt Sham beat teammates David An and Alex Namba in last year's doubles final, and two sets of Knights also faced off in the third place match in 2012.
Sham and new parter Austin Gu beat Namba and Derek Huang for the 4A KingCo doubles title during the fall, and Sham said they are well aware of the possibility of meeting again in the state semifinal round.
"It is a team, so yes and no," Sham said to his enjoyment of facing teammates in postseason matches. "I'm a team player, and I want everyone to be successful."
Coleman and the Knights have had no shortage of success for the past three seasons, and look like the odds-on favorite to bring home the schools first three-peat in boys tennis at Columbia Basic Racquet Club in Richland May 30-31.
"They are doing all the right things," Coleman said. "They have the desire, all the willingness to execute and work hard at practices. That transfers right into the matches."
Namba and Huang face Elliot Gardner and Chris Wood from Bellarmine Prep to get things started, while Sham and Gu meet Carter Galgano and Davis Galgano from Tahoma.
Ryan Cheung and Kelvin Yuchen, the third place finishers from KingCo and winners of the bi-district crossover match, face Alex Chanthavong and Jacob Buckley of Union, and are on the opposite side of the bracket from the other two Newport pairs.
Lui meets Ryan Adams of Olympia in the fist round of the 4A boys singles tournament for the Knights, and Coleman said could be primed for an individual title run.
"When Jason is on, no one can beat him," Coleman said.
KingCo champ Larson, Long sisters lead Saints' girls, Garnett tries for third title
Sisters Isabelle and Melissa Long will take their final turn on the girls doubles court, meeting Bailee Sanderson and Sofia Morrison of Southridge for a quarterfinal spot.
Lina Larson, one of only two 3A KingCo competitors in the girls singles bracket, meets Akari Baba of Prairie in the first round.
Two-time defending state champion Connor Garnett of Interlake takes on Bellevue's Hunter Eggers in the first round of the 3A boys tournament, looking to put the perfect cap on another state title season after winning a 2A singles title in 2012 and 3A championship last season.
The Wolverines' Jared Madison will meet Patrick Luangrath of Glacier Peak for a quarterfinal spot.
Ethan Romney of Sammamish meets David Granero of Tumwater in the 2A boys singles bracket.
The 3A state tennis championships are in Kennewick, while the 2A competition takes place at the University of Washington's Nordstrom Tennis Center.
Lui goes for perfection in small school tourney
Michelle Lui will try to join an elite club of prep tennis players in Washington state history when she takes the court at West Valley High School in Yakima May 30 and 31 for the 1B/2B/1A girls state tennis tournament.
Lui, winner of the past three girls singles titles at the state's smallest classification, can claim a fourth straight title and finish off an undefeated prep career with four more victories.
Her first test comes against Isabella James of La Salle.
Forest Ridge also has a pair of duos in the 1B/2B/1A girls doubles tournament.
Julia Mayner and Olivia Cero take on April Easter and Katie Ayers of Montesano, while Tiffanie Chai and Christina Chai face Grace Carrell and Navi Lehai of Naches Valley.
Sasha Cayward faces Grace Stiles of Zillah in the girls singles bracket.