For the second year in a row, the W.F. West boys tennis team won the 2A District 4 Championship as a team. The Bearcats will send at least three players to the state tournament in the spring and have the potential to send four.
The tournament was held Thursday morning at Steamboat Tennis and Athletic Center in Olympia.
First doubles senior-sophomore duo Joseph Chung and Aaron Boggess took the district title by ousting Ridgefield’s Mikey Nester and Ryan Gruber 6-3, 7-5.
After going down 2-4 in the second set, the Bearcat team had to troubleshoot and refocus before successfully bringing it back for the win.
“The kids from Ridgefield played well and kind of took our game away from us a little bit,” W.F. West tennis coach Jack State said. “That’s what we did well, they got behind and came back, they got more aggressive, started moving well.”
On the singles side, sophomore Justin Chung lost in the finals to take second in the district. His season-long undefeated streak came to an end by Matt Rudi from Columbia River, who took the match 7-5, 6-2. Previously during Rudi’s champion run, he had lost a total of two games. Justin Chung took nine.
“(Rudi) made it to districts all three years. His junior year he left and went to a prep school and came back for his senior year,” State said. “He went to state as a sophomore, and he played Justin in the finals.”
The loss made State more proud than upset, saying it shows Justin Chung’s potential. Placing second also stamps his ticket to state.
“That’s a sophomore-senior matchup, so Justin did a pretty good job,” he said.
Out of the four Bearcats who made it to districts, freshman singles player Javyn Han was the youngest. In fact, he was the youngest player in the entire tournament.
“Shelton had two sophomores that went and they would have been the second youngest, and they placed fifth. Nobody else had anybody younger than a junior except for us,” State said.
Han ended up losing in the match for third place against Jeffery Truong from Fort Vancouver, the No. 2 player out of the south. Truong, who made it to state last year as a doubles player, also played Han in the first round of the tournament and won a tough three-set battle. Their second meeting ended with a 6-4, 6-4 score.
After taking fourth, Han has the potential to qualify for the state tournament, depending on the number of kids the district sends, which will be determined in the spring. If he doesn’t qualify, he will still be the alternate. And the future is bright for the freshman whether he makes it, or not.
“Javyn has been really improving through the course of the year. He’s a good ball striker but up until this year he really hasn’t played matches,” State said. “He did a really nice job there.”
And State has the same optimistic outlook for the rest of his team, too.
“I’m really proud of the youth of our team and how well we competed,” he said. “We took one senior, two sophomores and a freshman to districts. That’s a really young team. That was the thing that I was most proud of, how well our young kids competed. Then you throw in our other young kids, we’re gonna be pretty darn good again next year.”