It couldn’t have been closer in an epic tennis duel between Wood River High School and the Twin Falls Bruins on the first day of the state-qualifying Great Basin Conference 4A district tournament Wednesday at five Twin Falls tennis sites.
Three-time defending conference champion Wood River piled up 45 overall team points on the day compared to 41 for Twin Falls. Burley was a distant third with 28. In the boys’ standings Wood River led Twin Falls 22.5 to 19. In the girls rankings it was 22.5 for Wood River, and 22 for Twin Falls.
Just as importantly, 16 state qualifiers from the conference were determined Wednesday—Wood River earning eight state berths out of its 16 entrants, Twin Falls seven and Minico of Rupert 1. And 16 more state qualifiers were still to be determined in Thursday’s finales.
Girls’ and boys’ doubles, plus two fine efforts in singles from Wood River’s No. 1 players, lifted coach Carlos Meza’s Hailey squad into its first-place perch after one day of competitive action. For Twin Falls, mixed doubles success and a pleasant surprise in boys’ doubles pushed the Bruins ahead.
Wednesday’s state qualifiers who made the finals from Wood River High School were senior Lily Richards and junior Stephen Pfeiffer in girls’ and boys’ singles; Margaret Reutter-Haley Cutler and Alex Taylor-Samantha Taylor in girls’ doubles; and seniors Cole Caminiti-Josh Morell in boys’ doubles.
The No. 1-seeded girls’ doubles pairing of senior Reutter and sophomore Cutler won two matches Wednesday and swept into Thursday’s final. There, the Capital Invitational No. 1 girls’ doubles champs played their teammates, unseeded junior Alex Taylor and her sister, freshman Samantha Taylor.
The Taylors won three matches in straight sets Wednesday to make state including a 6-1, 6-3 semi-final over No. 2-seeded Hailey Masoner and Kaci Carpenter of Burley.
Seeded second, Lily Richards won her preliminary matches 6-0, 6-0 and 6-2, 6-0 to earn a berth opposite Minico’s top-seeded Eva Mollik in Thursday’s final. No. 2-seeded Pfeiffer won twice in straight sets including a 6-1, 7-5 semi-final win over No. 3-seeded Angel Anguiano of Burley.
Pfeiffer clashed with top-seeded Twin Falls senior Dallas Hunt in Thursday’s final. Hunt was seeking his first conference title, after runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2012.
No. 2-seeded Caminiti and Morell, second at district last May, earned a title match shot opposite top-seeded Twin Falls sophomore Andy Carter and freshman Cole Hunt. Caminiti and Morell earned two straight-set victories on Wednesday.
Seven Wood River players—meaning just one Wolverine was eliminated from state consideration Wednesday—were still alive in the consolation bracket Thursday shooting for third and fourth places.
They were unseeded Chase Hutchinson with two boys’ singles wins Wednesday; sophomore Erik Wilander and freshman Danny Graves with three boys’ doubles wins; sophomores Taylor Cooper and Tate Morell in mixed doubles; and sophomore Miles Remington and senior Audrey Brassil, also in mixed doubles.
Twin Falls put both its mixed doubles teams into the final, and also had seniors Andrew Wickern-Shane Tucker win three boys’ doubles matches to help the Bruins equal Wood River’s 10 points in boys’ doubles for Day One.
The six-school, 95-player tournament wound up Thursday. The top four finishers in each event qualified to represent the district at the State 4A tournament May 17-18 at Boise Racquet and Swim Club. The 4A State meet is a seeded tournament starting in 2013.
Eight players or teams will be seeded in each event at the 2013 State 4A tourney—the top four seeds next weekend at Boise being the district champs from Districts 1/2, District 3, District 4 and Districts 5/6.