The Del Norte tennis season came to a close this week with the Humboldt-Del Norte Singles Championships on Wednesday, followed by the HDN Doubles Championships on Friday.
The Warriors weren’t able to crown any league champions, but Del Norte did get three players into the singles semifinals, followed by one doubles team in the semifinals on Friday.
Although none of Del Norte’s players managed to win their singles brackets on Wednesday, the Warriors did have three players pick up a win to reach the semifinal round. Each of Del Norte’s top four players ended up being knocked out by the player that went on to win the entire singles bracket.
Del Norte head coach Rivers Drown said the team left Fortuna feeling good about its play.
“Overall we just had a great time and the boys did a great job. They played their hearts out,” Drown said. “The thing that I noticed the most is that everyone was really well matched up. There were just a couple matches here and there where one of the kids was much better than the other.
“Arcata is tough and so is Northcoast Prep. They had the top couple seeds in almost every bracket, and they were the last two teams playing when we left. We were one of the last teams to leave though, so that made me feel good.”
Drown said the entire tournament was played in some unpredictable wind, which certainly seemed to effect play.
“Wind was crazy. We all agreed that the wind was definitely an equalizer because it wasn’t consistent,” he said. “When it is consistent you can adapt and adjust, but it just wasn’t. It would come up into a big gust, then it dropped back to a breeze and was just up and down. The wind was definitely an issue, but it is good for them. It is good training, and it’s good experience for them to have playing in that.”
Freshmen Zack Lor had a strong showing while playing in the No. 1 singles bracket which included the top players from each school in the league.
After dropping his first set of the day against Ferndale’s top player 6-4, Lor rebounded with wins of 6-1 and 6-4 in the next two sets to advance to the semifinal round.
In the next round Lor ran into the top seeded player and the eventual Humboldt-Del Norte singles champion.
“He ended up playing Arcata’s No. 1, Leo Janzen, and that guy is just an absolute animal,” Rivers said. “But I’ll tell you what, Zack gave him a run for his money — it was not just given to him. Zack played a really good match there.”
In the No. 2 singles bracket Conner Long drew No. 2 seed Yasko Massias of Arcata and fell 6-0, 6-1.
“Massias is just another force to be reckoned with, he is really tough,” Drown said. “But Conner hung with him and took it to deuce a couple times. I was really proud about that.”
Massias went on to win the No. 2 singles bracket.
Del Norte’s Jaroslav Grueny, a foreign exchange student from Germany, started his day off with a quick 6-0, 6-0 win over Eureka’s Ryn Albee.
Although Grueny fell 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals, Drown said the match against Northcoast Prep’s Tareg Ahrari was an enjoyable affair between countrymen.
“They had a good time because they are both German, so they were able to speak in German the whole time,” Drown said. “He couldn’t have been more happy about it. They had fun.”
Aharari finished the day as the No. 3 singles champion.
Seth Lee played in the No. 4 singles bracket for Del Norte and picked up a 2-6, 6-0, 7-5 victory over Fortuna’s Kyle Chao to advance to the semifinals.
“His set serves were just really good. He dialed it in, then just got the kid on unforced errors,” Drown said.
In the semifinals, Lee ran into a tough player from Arcata as Hunter Lewis grabbed a 6-2, 6-1 win for the Tigers over Lee.
Lewis went on to win the No. 4 singles championship.
Del Norte’s Tyler Stanley lost his first round match in the No. 5 singles bracket 6-1, 6-1. Brett Floyd got his first experience playing tennis on the road and picked up a 7-6 win hin his first set in the No. 6 singles bracket. But St. Bernard’s Griffin Voss managed to win the last two sets 6-1, 6-0 to knock Floyd out of the tournament.
In doubles on Friday, Del Norte’s No. 2 team of Long and Grueny started the day with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Fortuna before being knocked out in the semifinals 6-3, 6-0 by No. 2 seeded Northcoast Prep.
Lor and Xavier Young fell 6-0, 6-0 to top-seeded Arcata in the first round of the No. 1 singles bracket. Del Norte’s No. 3 team of Lee and Stanley fell 6-0, 6-0 to Fortuna in the first round.
Reach Michael Zogg at email@example.com .